POOR planning and mismanagement of the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) is again on the headlines as the state owned trading body is going to destroy 1.5 lakh litres of edible oil this month (February) to cause a loss of Tk 25 crore to the state exchequer. A news report in The New Nation on Sunday made it public saying another 1.25 lakh litres of edible oil are scheduled to expire in March and to be destroyed to incur a loss of another Tk 23 crore at the expense of tax payers money. TCB had imported the edible oil at higher prices during last Ramadan but failed to sell it to the public through open market operations. The news report stated that the state owned body is set to destroy yet another 17.63 lakh litres of the same in July this year to cause a loss of another Tk 175 crore to the state exchequer. This is because the users’ date of the item will expire by that time. More disturbing is that when the TCB is phasing out all these destruction schedules, it is also planning to import 3,000 tonnes of refined soybean oil ahead of the fasting month of Ramadan. It appears callousness on the part of the TCB to destroy old stock and import new ones without bothering about its profit and loss and the effect it has on the state exchequer. The story said last year’s import was at a higher cost and no TCB distributor agreed to take delivery to sell at a loss when the market price was much below the TCB rate. Meanwhile, the state owned body revised the price downward twice but it was still priced higher for a lower quality product. The TCB again wanted to lower the price this month but the Commerce Secretary refused to give permission saying he can’t allow outdated products to go to market. The same may occur for the consignment set to be destroyed in March this year. There is a big question as to why the TCB had imported at a higher cost and for whose benefits as its dealers had even refused to take delivery of the product. It is an open secret that a third party buys commodities for the TCB and they made the profit by making delivery of the edible oil at a higher cost. Now the state will see the product is being destroyed while taxpayers are footing the bill. We are at a loss as to why the TCB made such imports without keeping a watch on the market price and why they did not foresee the danger of the expiry date of the product and made substantial price cuts to that it could be cleared even at a certain loss. Now the entire loss is going to burden the nation’s exchequer. The question is who will be held responsible and why the persons accountable for the mismanagement must not be allowed to go punished. We strongly deplore the exploitation of the state agency by vested interest groups and demand that the repeat of the practice must not be done this year again.