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BSFIC officials restive over promotions

Published : 12 Sep 2022 10:10 PM

Resentment is prevailing among the officials of the Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation (BSFIC), a state-owned corporation responsible for sugar production. 

It is learnt that 18 officials, appointed violating recruitment rules of 1985 and opinion of the Establishment Ministry (now known as Public Administration Ministry) have been occupying all top level positions depriving regular officials of promotions despite having all requisite qualifications and experiences.

According to the officials of BSFIC and Industries Ministry, more than 500 officials from various levels working under the corporation have been deprived of getting promotions for many years as 18 officials got appointment directly in the posts of manager (finance), a grade-5 (deputy secretary equivalent) post violating the service rules and Establishment Ministry’s opinion.

They claimed that officials were appointed in the manager’s post directly in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010 showing their certificates from the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh (ICMAB) as additional qualifications. 

Two persons were recruited in 2005, while four persons in 2007, two more in 2008 and 10 persons at a time in 2010. Of them, three have already left their jobs.

According to the aggrieved officials, though the certificates of ICMAB were shown as post-graduate degrees, the University Grants Commission (UGC) hasn’t yet recognised the certificates as post graduate.

According to the service rules 1985 of BSFIC, there is no scope of recruiting an official in the rank of manager, which is a grade-5 post and equivalent to the status of a deputy, directly without 13 years’ working experience.

When the issue of appointing them directly to the post of manager came to the fore in 2005, the BSFIC and the Industries Ministry sought the opinion of the-then Establishment Ministry. .

The Establishment Ministry opined that there is no scope of recruiting an official directly to a grade-5 post. Instead, the ministry recommended the authority to fill up the posts of managers by promoting the experienced officers.

Violating the service rules and Establishment Ministry opinion, the 18 officers were given appointments during the period of its former acting chairman Md Delwar Hossain, who was an influential member of ICMAB during the period, and went on retirement in 2020 after giving the appointments.

In a written complaint submitted to the Secretary of the Industries Ministry on June 20, this year, an aggrieved officer Nazmul Huda said of the rest 15 officers, seven persons have already been promoted to the rank of general manager (grade-3, equivalent to the status of joint secretary) post. The authority has already started procedures to promote the rest eight officers to general managers (grade-3) posts.

In the complaint, he sought justice from the authority conducting a neutral investigation.

Following his complaint, the Industries Secretary has recently sent a letter to the BSFIC Chairman to submit a report after investigation on the matter by forming a probe committee. The BSFIC Chairman has formed a two-member committee led by its Director (Finance), who is also an interested person as the supervising authority of the 18 officials.

According to the aggrieved officials, the head of the probe body has been working to probe the matter consulting with the beneficiary officials. At the same time, he had several tours with the officials even after getting the responsibility of probing the matter. “The probe cannot be a neutral one with the body.”

When contacted, BSFIC Chairman Arifur Rahman Apu, also an additional secretary to the administration, said that the BSFIC’s Director (Finance) Khondker Azim Ahmed was given the responsibility as an admin cadre officer. Hope, he will submit a neutral report considering the interests of all parties.

Regarding appointment of an officer directly to the post of deputy secretary, he said, “I think there’s scope of such recruitment in the service rules. Otherwise, no one can approve such an appointment. As far as I know, they were appointed as specialised officers for cost management. However, their performance is also like the traditional officers.”

“The probe body formed to investigate all the issues and submit a report following the requirement of the ministry will examine the issues and submit its report soon. If necessary the service rules of the corporation will be amended,” he added.

When contacted, BSFIC Director (Finance) Khondker Azim Ahmed, also a joint secretary, said that the committee is working on the matter. They will submit the report to the authorities soon.

Regarding the allegations, he said, “I haven't willingly taken the charge of the probe body. If the authority wishes, it may change the committee. Will you be able to change the committee?”