Cabinet okays Shipping Corporation Bill

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Dhaka, July 25: The draft of ‘The Bangladesh Shipping Corporation Bill, 2016’ aimed at infusing more dynamism into the state-owned shipping organisation through updating the existing law was given approval by the Cabinet on Monday.

The regular weekly Cabinet meeting held at Bangladesh Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair given the approval.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam said the second quarterly (April-June) report 2016 on implementation of the cabinet decisions was placed before the cabinet today.

The cabinet secretary said the Cabinet was apprised of the participation of a Bangladesh delegation led by the shipping minister in the 10th founding anniversary of the ‘Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre’ held in Singapore on March 18 last.

He said the Cabinet was also informed of the participation of a Bangladesh delegation headed by the law, justice and parliamentary affairs minister in the ‘7th Session of the Implementation Review Group of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption’ held in Vienna on June 20-24.

The Cabinet Secretary said the original law on Shipping Corporation was promulgated through a Presidential Order on February 5, 1970, and it was later amended several times during the civil and military governments.

He said the draft Bangladesh Shipping Corporation Bill, 2016 was placed before the cabinet today as a ‘composite law’ incorporating some new clauses as well as translating the original law into Bangla as per a directive of the Supreme Court that had earlier declared all martial law regime ordinances and amendments illegal.

The Cabinet Secretary said the draft law has been formulated keeping intact almost all of the sections of the existing law on operation and management of Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC) alongside updating some clauses.

About the structure of the management of BSC, he said there will be a seven to 13-member Board of Directors with the Shipping Minister as its chairman.

Besides, the secretary of the shipping ministry or divisions dealing with shipping, a joint secretary of the Finance Division, the managing director and executive directors of the BSC as well as one of the representatives from the shareholders will be members of the board.

Shafiul Alam said the responsibility of operation and management of the BSC would be bestowed upon the board.

According to the draft law, the headquarters of the BSC will be located in Chittagong, but with prior approval of the government, it could be shifted to another place wherever necessary and appropriate.

About the function of the corporation, the Cabinet Secretary said it would provide safe and efficient shipping services on international routes and carry out all forms of activities connected with or ancillary to shipping.

The Corporation will also have the power to undertake the repairs, overhaul, manufacture, reconditioning or assembly of ships, vessels and other vehicles.

“Besides, it will also establish institutes or make other arrangements for the instruction and training of persons engaged or likely to be engaged in any activity connected with or ancillary to shipping,” he said.

The corporation will also have the authority to acquire, hold or dispose of any property, whether movable or immovable.

The Cabinet Secretary said as a listed organisation of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the amount of the authorized capital of the BSC would be Tk 400 core, while its paid up capital would be Tk 350 crore.

The Cabinet Secretary said the second quarterly (April-June) report 2016 on the implementation of the cabinet decisions was placed before the cabinet today.

Alam said from April 1, 2016 to June 30, 2016, some 11 cabinet meetings took place where some 92 decisions were taken with the number of implemented decisions were 65 having a success rate of 70.65 percent.

During this period, 27 decisions remained under implementation which was 29.35 percent of the overall decisions. Besides, some two policies or strategies were approved during that period alongside nine agreements or Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) while 20 bills were passed in parliament.

Ministers and state ministers and secretaries concerned were present at the meeting.

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