The International Air Express Association of Bangladesh (IAEAB), an organisation of courier service providers, is carrying out 'business' by leasing the premises of the import cargo complex at Dhaka's Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. They are charging its member companies more than twice the rent of the complex. This has created anger among the members.
Seeking anonymity, an officer of a courier service firm said, the main function of the association should be ensuring benefits for courier service organisations. Rather than doing that, they are carrying out business in the name of renting the premises.
To provide courier service home and abroad by using the airport it is prerequisite to get the membership of IAEB. According to the website of the association currently they have 83 member organisations. These organisations run their businesses from the import cargo building of the airport. These organisations have their own offices inside the cargo complex.
Until 2013 courier service companies used to rent these places directly from Civil Aviation Association Bangladesh (CAAB). After a fire at the import cargo complex on that year the direct rent was stopped. Then IAEB acted as a mediator. They took lease of the import cargo complex space (21,605 square feet) and rented it out to the courier service organisations.
According to the documents regarding the lease, IAEB had no contract with CAAB before 2017. On 6 March that year, they made a lease agreement with CAAB. The contract stipulated the lease from 2014 to 2017. Accordingly, the monthly rent per square foot of 12 thousand 455.25 square feet inside the Import Cargo Building was fixed at Tk 120 in 2014, Tk 132 in 2015, Tk 145.20 in 2016 and Taka 159.72 for 2017.
Officers of several IAEAB member organisations said they were supposed to pay an rent adding 10 per cent with the lease price. But many objected as the rent was high. Then on behalf of IAEB it was said that the rent will be reduced. But before that the rent would be adjusted with the next contract.
On June 14, a new contract (revised) was finalised between IAEB and CAAB. By this the 2016 contract was annulled and new amended rent rate was fixed. According to that for 2017 the rent of per square foot was Tk 66, and Tk 72 for 2019 (up to June) was fixed.
But IEAB demanded Tk 140 for 2017, Tk 154 for 2018 and Tk 169 for 2019. The rent rate for 2020 to 2022 is not finalised yet. Several top officers of the member organisations of the association termed the extra rent as unethical.
When asked, IAEAB general secretary Rafiqul Islam told Prothom Alo, this rent was fixed by getting approval from the executive committee of the association. He also gives rent according to the fixed rate of the association as a member.
When asked whether IAEAB may run a business by taking CAAB space on lease, member (administration and planning) of CAAB Sadikur Rahman Chowdhury told Prothom Alo, there is scope of complaining to CAAB if someone has to pay extra rent. Measures will be taken accordingly if complaints are received.