The irregularities, inefficiency and corruption of the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) were discussed in the meeting of the Jatiya Sangsad’s standing committee on the Ministry of Energy, Power and Mineral Resources. In the committee meeting held on Tuesday, objections were raised regarding the incomplete audit of BPC for three financial years, in which irregularities of around 95 billion were detected. After the meeting, the president of the committee ASM Feroz commented, "We are shocked to see BPC’s irregularities."
The parliamentary committee meeting discussed the pending audit objections of BPC for the financial years 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12. But what irregularities have happened in the following 10 years is still unknown.
In the audit committee meeting, the committee directed the BPC to submit the documents to the audit directorate within two months. But they did not provide any documents to the committee. In an objection, Comptroller and Auditor General said that the amount of loans given to various institutions and projects was shown in the balance sheet of BPC, and the amount shown in the balance sheet of those institutions or projects showed a discrepancy of Tk 25.97 billion.
On 22 May, the public accounts committee of the Jatiya Sangsad recommended action against those involved in accounting irregularities, but no response was received from the BPC. Is it failure or negligence? We are more surprised that they did not even listen to the ACC. Do they consider themselves above accountability? In the parliamentary meeting, BPC presented the profit and loss account of the last 10 years. It is said that in seven years (2014-15 to 2020-21), BPC has made a profit of Tk 570 billion. In the previous three financial years, the company has reported a loss of Tk 140 billion. BPC's profits are obtained from the public. Therefore, they have the right to know in which sector this money has been spent.
The other issues that came before the meeting of the parliamentary committee are also worrying. In the 2012 financial year, oil was imported in excess of the country's storage capacity, and so extra expenditure was incurred by keeping the vessel floating. BPC suffered a financial loss of Tk 500 million. In the same fiscal, despite having own funds in the bank, it made purchases with overdrafts, resulting in a financial loss of Tk 24.8 billion paid as interest.
In the meeting, BPC officials tried to stress that there is no scope for irregularities in the institutional structure. What is the logic for not establishing new oil refineries or trying to increase oil storage capacity? Oil is still unloaded from vessels manually. On the other hand, the initiative to supply oil through pipes has also stopped due to unknown reasons. A large quantity of oil is wasted because of this.
To save foreign exchange, the government has recently taken the initiative of importing fuel oil from Russia. The problem here is the refinery. Bangladesh does not have oil refineries to refine the imported oil from Russia. As a result, Bangladesh has to bring refined oil at a higher price.
The BPC never felt the need to take the experts into account. The question is whether they will wake up after the criticism of the parliamentary committee.