Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has instructed state-owned companies to be self-dependent within a short period of time and to spend from their own earnings.
Addressing a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday, she made it clear that state-owned companies would not be financed from the government exchequer for long.
She said the move was aimed at reducing losses.
The Ecnec meeting approved 10 projects involving a total of Tk11,901.33 crore.
Sheikh Hasina attended the meeting virtually from Ganabhaban, while Ecnec members, ministers and secretaries did so from the NEC Bhaban in the capital's Sher-e-Bangla Nagar.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan said many government companies had been facing losses for long.
He said the government had built these companies, including Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited and Biman, for them to do business.
It was not economically acceptable that the government would continue to finance loss-making companies, he said.
He added, though, that the prime minister had mentioned no roadmap or time frame for government companies to become financially independent.
"These companies were registered according to the Companies Act and were given capital. It is now expected that they will manage their income and expenditure independently."
Last year's data from the finance ministry show that BASIC Bank was among the top 10 loss-making government entities. It faced a loss of Tk319 crore. Krishi Bank's loss was Tk1,314 crore while Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank incurred a loss of around Tk37 crore.
Moreover, 14 sugar mills and about three dozen government companies, among which are LP Gas, Shahjalal Fertiliser Company, Chhatak Cement Company, Usmania Glass Sheet Factory, Atlas Bangladesh, Eastern Cables, Bangladesh Blade Factory, Karnaphuli Paper Mills and Dhaka Steel Work, have been facing losses for years.
The prime minister also expressed her discontent over corruption and irregularities in excavation, saying she is aware of what happens in the name of canal excavation.
She directed the relevant officials to put a stop to such irregularities, adding that some excavation is done superficially but nothing happens in reality.
A Tk1,452 crore project on modernizing various levels of infrastructure constructed under the Teesta barrage project was among those approved at the meeting. As part of the project, the water holding capacity of small rivers and canals will be increased and they will be connected with nearby irrigation canals to expand areas suitable for irrigation.
Another project to set up a super specialised hospital under Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University was also approved. The deadline for the project was extended for two more years, with its cost going up from Tk1,366 crore to Tk1,561 crore.
Other approved projects include modernisation and capacity expansion of Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board's electricity distribution system (Khulna division), and development of important rural infrastructure in Cumilla, Brahmanbaria and Chandpur.