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Draft to turn BTTB into a PLC okayed PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 04 March 2008

Staff Correspondent

The council of advisers on Sunday in principle approved a draft ordinance for turning the Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board into a public limited company, nearly four years after the process was initiated.

‘The advisory council has approved the proposal to turn the BTTB into a public limited company,’ Syed Fahim Munaim, press secretary to the chief adviser, told reporters after the meeting at the Chief Adviser’s Office. The meeting was presided over by the chief adviser, Fakhruddin Ahmed.

Fahim said the meeting asked the post and telecommunications ministry to again submit the proposal to the advisory council by April 30 after completing some formalities and getting it vetted by law ministry for final approval.

According to the approved draft ordinance, the state-owned BTTB will become a cent-per-cent government-owned public limited company named Bangladesh Telecom Company Ltd. The state-owned mobile operator, Teletalk Bangladesh Ltd, will be its subsidiary but will be run by a separate management. The authorised capital of BTCL is Tk 3,000 crore, comprising 30 crore shares of Tk 100 each.

The proposed company will have a nine-member board with the telecom secretary as its chairman and the company’s managing director as the member-secretary. The government in September 2005 commissioned a German consultancy firm, Detecon International, to chalk out the modalities of turning the BTTB into a PLC. Detecon has already prepared a marketing plan and strategy as well as a business plan for the new company.

It, however, is yet to complete the most important component of the BTTB restructuring project — evaluating its assets and liabilities. The restructuring is aimed at enhancing the operational and service-delivery efficiency of the landline operator and increasing the number of fixed phone connections in the country.

The telephone board has around 8.64 lakh subscribers Although the organogram of the new company is yet to be framed, the government does not plan to offer a golden handshake to any of its employees. The number of BTTB employees now stands at around 15,000 against the total of 19,500 sanctioned by the government. The BTTB has not recruited any new staffers since 1984.

The BTTB earns Tk 1,500 crore on an average a year, which it deposits with the exchequer. It gets an allocation under the Annual Development Programme to bear its operational costs, the obtaining of which, BTTB officials say, involves a cumbersome bureaucratic process. Former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, at a meeting of the national taskforce on information and communications technology on April 12, 2004, decided to turn the BTTB into a public limited company with complete financial autonomy under the Companies Act of 1994.

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