• Friday, May 27, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

The company you keep

  • Published at 04:40 am May 19th, 2013
The company you keep

That SNC-Lavalin apparently had specific protocols in place for the provision of bribes for donor funded projects is pretty persuasive evidence of the kind of company they were and doesn't do much for our nation's reputation for transparency and corruption, given our recent involvement with them. Heaven forbid the thought that it was the alacrity with which they were willing to break the law that might have made them attractive partners in the first place. The Bangladeshi public sector has never had a stellar reputation for its ethical practices and the fact that we have chosen to associate ourselves with a company like SNC-Lavalin puts into sharp focus the need for us to clean up our act and for greater transparency and accountability in our procurement processes. While it remains to be seen if bribes actually changed hands, it is not a good sign that the company that the government was meeting with had a system in place for paying off local authorities. As a nation, the time has come for us to take a stance against such companies and do business with the respectable and the professional. It is an important factor for how much assistance we will be able to receive from multilateral agencies, but, more to the point, as a self-respecting nation, we should try to steer clear of these kinds of petty official criminalities. Additionally, in the current global context, following Tazreen and Rana Plaza, investor confidence in Bangladesh is regrettably low. We must take all the steps that we can make ourselves seem like a more business-friendly nation. Allegations of this kind of corruption involving large companies and government officials clearly send the wrong message to potential investors, and make us look like small-timers, not to be taken seriously. It is time for the authorities to make a conscious effort to ensure that we are not associated with companies that are involved in such practices and to implement the kind of regulations that would assure both the international community and the people of the nation that our procurement processes are fair and above all professional.

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