The Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) – the controller, supervisor, and coordinator of the state-owned jute mills – has again floated an international tender to lease out 13 jute mills to the private sector.
According to a BJMC source, the 13 mills will be leased out for five to twenty years, along with the possibility of extending this at a later time, and the mills premises will be used for producing only goods using jute.
The BJMC on Monday floated the tender, seeking expression of interest (EOI) from local and foreign investors, and asked them to submit it by 20 March.
The mills cannot be mortgaged, sub-leased or rented out to any party, including banks, financial institutions or intermediaries.
Earlier in April last year, the jute authorities had floated another international tender to lease out 17 out of 26 mills to the private sector.
Although there was much interest among the private firms for the mills, which have a huge amount of land and properties, those continued to incur losses due to lack of proper management.
Following the procedure, the BJMC finalised five private firms, including one foreign, to lease out the five jute mills to.
Now, the BJMC has sought interest to lease out thirteen other jute mills.
Of those, three mills – Gul Ahmed Jute Mills, MM Jute Mills, and RR Jute Mills – are in the Chattogram zone.
UMC Jute Mills, Rajshahi Jute Mills, and Jatio Jute Mills are in the Dhaka zone. Finally, there are seven mills from the Khulna Zone, which are Platinum Jubilee Jute Mills, Eastern Jute Mills, Khalishpur Jute Mills, Doulatpur Jute Mills, Star Jute Mills, Jessore Jute Industries, and Carpeting Jute Mills.
In the tender document, the BJMC said the lease would be awarded to the highest scoring bidder ranked on the basis of a combined score of technical and financial proposals weighted equally.
It said that any interested party may visit the enlisted jute mills for lease purposes. Only short-listed bidders shall be invited for a request for proposal (RFP), and the inviting authority retains the right to reject any or all EOI without assigning any reason.
BJMC jute mills at a glance
Before independence, Bangladesh had 75 jute mills. On 26 March 1972, the BJMC was formed through a presidential order to supervise, regulate and manage 78 mills, including the private and abandoned ones, and those owned by the former East Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation.
The number of jute mills increased to 82 in 1981. After 1982, 35 mills became privatised, while the government withdrew capital from eight and one mill merged with the Mymensingh Jute Mills.
Eleven mills were shut down, sold or merged with other mills at different periods after 1993, including the Adamjee Jute Mills which was shut down in 2002.
The BJMC later resumed production in two mills in 2011 and three in 2013, putting the number of operational mills to 32 during this period.
Among those, cases regarding five mills are underway in courts, while a project for producing Viscose [a semi-synthetic material used in clothes, upholstery and bedding] is being implemented in another.
Twenty-five jute mills under the BJMC before the government shut down all state-run jute mills on 1 July last year due to heavy losses and excessive production costs, and sent around 25,000 workers into retirement through golden handshakes.