Biman bypasses BPC to import fuel direct

Biman will buy fuel from abroad although the cash-strapped carrier owes over Tk 1,500 crore to a state-run agency responsible for importing and supplying fuels. Biman has failed to pay Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation Tk 1,564 crore in dues until December 31. A corruption-riddled Biman now moved to import fuel bypassing BPC, officials said.

bdnews24.com
Published : 30 Jan 2007, 08:56 AM
Updated : 30 Jan 2007, 08:56 AM
Biplob Rahman
bdnews24.com senior correspondent
Dhaka, Jan 30 (bdnews24.com) - Biman will buy fuel from abroad although the cash-strapped carrier owes over Tk 1,500 crore to a state-run agency responsible for importing and supplying fuels.
Biman has failed to pay Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation Tk 1,564 crore in dues until December 31.
A corruption-riddled Biman now moved to import fuel bypassing BPC, officials said.
A bdnews24.com investigation finds that Biman has already floated international tenders with intent to buy 16 lakh gallons of jet fuel from Hong Kong Airport and another 70 lakh gallons from Manchester Airport in a one-year agreement.
Biman officials did not want to talk about the issue although tender notices for buying fuel were open to all.
Two tender notices signed by Biman's Deputy General Manager Mohammad Yunus Ali are available on the website.
The deadline for participating in the tenders is Jan 17. Biman has asked bidders to come to Dhaka and make the final deal by Jan 31.
bdnews24.com could not reach Biman Managing Director MA Momen for comment despite repeated attempts.
AM Mosaddek Ahmed, Biman's director (sales and marketing), Tuesday told bdnews24.com that he had no idea about the steps to buy fuel from abroad.
Another Biman official however said: "BPC buys fuel from abroad at international rates and sells it to Biman with import tax, which forces us to pay higher."
"If we buy fuel directly we don't have to pay the extra money. On the other hand, the decision will allow us to buy fuel on credit," the official, who did not want to be named, said.
"We don't get any subsidy from the government to buy fuel from BPC. So the decision of direct import will help us sustain," the official said.
BPC imports about 2.5 lakh gallons of fuel and its main buyer is Biman.
Other foreign airlines buy fuel from BPC at Zia International Airport in Dhaka and Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong in cash.
BPC earlier threatened Biman time and again not to continue supply of fuel unless the state-run airline pays the dues.
Energy secretary AMM Nasir Uddin recently told reporters, "We are thinking about stopping fuel supply to Biman after the end of hajj flights."
Biman's final returning hajj flights will land on February 6.
Biman runs flights to 22 international and five domestic destinations with a fleet of five DC-10, four airbus and four F-28 aircraft.
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