May 21, 2007

The Biman story gets more interesting

11 days and 10 posts after I complained about it, the Biman story makes it to the pages of the Daily Star. One lone sentence focuses on the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) for which 300 crore takas (43m USD) have been asked, and provided by the World Bank.

Well, that explains why tax-payers really don't need to be informed of such developments, doesn't it? As Iqbal Quadir says in th video right below, the WB really is an institution of, by and for the goverments! More specifically their bureaucracies. One can only imagine the backroom negotiations that went on, the give and take on different issues important to each of the different parties. I wonder if anyone raised any questions as to what alernative uses (ie. the opportunity cost of the VRS) the $43m could have been used for? I'd like to doubt it, but then I wasn't there was I?

Prothom Alo has a slightly better report. It highlights the fact that since 1997, BPC has not given Biman 25% discounted fuel. Which is all well and good, subsidies are not the best stimulant for achieving efficiency. But here's the intruiging part: BPC sells Biman jet fuel at 65 cents/litre. The price on the world market is 35 cents/litre. From the DS report, it seems that BPC was the monopoly supplier to Biman (can anyone confirm?) If that is indeed the case, all we've done these last 10 years, in essence, was to re-distribute income from Biman to BPC! Suddenly, the arrears being owed to BPC by Biman seem less as inefficiency and more as political resistance between bureaucracies.

If the Prothom Alo story seems more detailed, I suspect that it's in no small part due to the man whose name is in the byline. Or is there a new Tipu Sultan in Prothom Alo?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

BPC is the sole provider of jetfuel in Bangladesh. There price is so high that even foreign airlines avoid Bangladesh in case of emergency landing.