The Beximco Group on Sunday issued a rejoinder to a statement of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) on the misuse of loan rescheduling.
In its reaction, the prominent business group also criticised the TIB executive director's remarks regarding lawmakers.
In a report published on September 14, the Daily Star quoted the TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman as saying, "Taking the advantage of loan rescheduling, a section of the plunderers gets the opportunity to become lawmakers."
Beximco stated in the rejoinder, "Since the statement prominently conjoins a recent rescheduling of loans granted to Beximco Group, there are sufficient reasons to assume that the insinuation was aimed at our Vice Chairman, Salman Fazlur Rahman, who was elected a Member of Parliament from the Dhaka-1 constituency in the last election."
Explaining the group's appeal for loan rescheduling, the business group said that, "Since our Vice Chairman has long been affiliated to Bangladesh Awami League, Beximco was subjected to politically-motivated discriminatory treatment which resulted in denial of credit facilities to the Group during the BNP-led government, and the subsequent military-backed caretaker government, which also detained our Vice-Chairman on charges of corruption, which were subsequently proven false in the courts of law."
In the rejoinder Beximco stated, "The adverse politically-motivated actions against BEXIMCO—such as depriving it of borrowing money from banks despite having sufficient cash flows—severely affected the company and caused irreversible damage. It has resulted in severe financial and image crisis for a company otherwise immensely successful."
It also said that, apart from blocking financial inflow to the group, its pharmaceutical wing was not allowed to even open an LC for nearly two years, without citing any reasons. This itself is a testimony of how even the company's basic operations were hindered by state actors.
In the rejoinder Beximco claimed that, "The seven years of constant discriminatory behaviour during the BNP and caretaker regimes against Beximco also led to a liquidity crisis within the company, as a result of which we were unable to make timely payments to the banks. The ramifications were so severe for a large company like ours is that we are yet to recover from it."
Beximco's rejoinder also stated, "Originally, when the restructuring took place, as per the guidelines of Bangladesh Bank, we commissioned an independent audit firm, duly approved by the Bank, to determine the potential cash flow in the years ahead. The auditor recommended to grant us 12 years to repay the entire loan. However, the Bangladesh Bank divided our loans as term loans and working capital loans, and granted a 6-year repayment period for working capital loans, although at that time we informed the bank that our cash flow might not support a six-year repayment period."
"Anticipating that normal installments of payment may be hindered given our current actual cash flow, we simply requested the Bangladesh Bank to review the original decision and comply with the original recommendation of the independent auditor," the company explained in the rejoinder.
It also mentioned that, "The Bank's executive branch did not take any decision regarding this. Rather, the application was raised in its Board meeting. While we requested a review for only our loan, the Board also decided to grant the extension to other borrowers, whose accounts are regular."
"We, therefore, feel extremely insulted by the executive director calling us "plunderers." The remark has not only insulted our vice chairman, but also all Members of the Parliament who have had their loans rescheduled and, most importantly, 60,000 hardworking employees of our Group," added the rejoinder.