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Title: Critical reflections on law and public enterprises in Bangladesh
Author: Masudul Haque, A. K. M.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3621 0032
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1991
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This thesis analyses the use of law in the emergence and functioning of public enterprises in Bangladesh, which are viewed as a politico-economic and legal institution devised to implement public policy. According to a meeting of experts at Tangier (Morocco) from the 15-19 December 1980 on the "Concept, definition and classification of public enterprises", a public enterprise is an organisation which is: -owned by public authorities including central, state or local authorities, to the extent of fifty percent or more, -is under the top managerial control of the owning public authorities, such public control including, inter alia, the right to appoint management and to formulate critical policy decisions, -is established for the achievement of a defined set of public purposes, which may be multidimensional in character -and is consequently placed under a system of public accountability -is engaged in activities of a business character -involves the basic idea of investment and returns -and which markets its outputs in the shape of goods and services. Thus, public enterprises would include any commercial, financial, industrial, agricultural or promotional undertaking owned by a public authority, either wholly or through majority shareholding which is engaged in the production and sale of goods and services and whose affairs are capable of being recorded in the balance sheets and profit and loss accounts. In spite of the fact that many of the problems of public enterprises are a direct concern of lawyers, this thesis is the first attempt by a lawyer to study legal aspects of public enterprises in the context of Bangladesh. It aims to make an original contribution to the growing body of scholarship establishing links between public law and politics. It was undertaken at a time when the idea of privatisation is sweeping all over the world, necessitating a fresh discussion on the role of public enterprises and the practicality of significant privatisation in a poor country like Bangladesh. By its very nature, the thesis can only be both analytical as well as descriptive. The scheme of analysis involves reference to historical, political, social and economic factors that have contributed to the emergence of public enterprises in Bangladesh and the later privatisation of some of them The thesis is influenced by the recognition of the importance of contextual non-legal factors that have influenced the development process in Bangladesh. Like in many other developing countries, in Bangladesh the role of law in achieving developmental objectives has been over-emphasised. Of course problems of development have clearly influenced the perception of the predominant role of legislation. But law is only one factor interwoven with other factors in a wider social and economic fabric. This is not to de- emphasise the importance of formal legal provisions, but they should be seen as symbols of attempts to implement the law's underlying tasks, and, in the course of this, as providing political resources which individuals and groups can utilise to gain their ends. It is, therefore, important not to confuse the instruments of implementation with the underlying purposes themselves. Thus this thesis, instead of focusing only on the different kinds of legal rules, looks at the underlying power relationships in Bangladesh and the interests for which state power is being used which, in turn, influence the actual functioning of the public enterprises. The roles of the state and the bureaucracy in the functioning of public enterprises are included in this discussion. It explains the behaviour, performance and development of public enterprises in Bangladesh. It also, examines the political and socio-economic context in which public enterprises are embedded. The central hypothesis of the thesis is that the creation and operation of public enterprises are mostly determined by the character of the political coalition in power, and that political changes are reflected in intra-organisational dimensions. It recognizes that even though public enterprises are powerful socio-economic and legal entities, to understand their functioning it is necessary to analyse their external environment. Indeed, an adequate approach to public law should be to investigate public policy, and ask what demands government makes of the constitutional and legal systems in seeking to achieve its objectives, how those systems respond to those expectations, and the problems created by those responses for the government. Thus public law is a tool used to achieve public ends. The use of public law may occur directly either through the moulding of social processes by regulatory rules or through the establishment and definition of institutions. Thus the version of public law adopted in the thesis has for its main focus of interest the design of institutions through which public policy is implemented along with the relationship between those institutions and other parts of the constitutional structure. Therefore, a particular concern of this thesis will be institutional design for the operation of public enterprises in Bangladesh. Operational aspects include both organisation and management. Organisation is viewed as the structure of hierarchy in the functioning of public enterprises and management can be defined as the processes by which the work is accomplished including planning, financing, staffing, controlling various activities and ensuring accountability. The thesis concludes that, the legal forms and the law including measures of privatisation have not achieved what they had intended to. The benefit of the legal form can be achieved only when there is a full understanding and acceptance by the concerned parties viz., government, management and workers of what a legal form entails. Until public enterprise culture becomes more business-like, the changes in the legal form will be of little relevance. In order to improve the performance of public enterprises it is necessary to ensure true accountability of the government to the people. Without establishing real democracy in Bangladesh, which was mostly governed by martial law, framing rules and regulations to improve performance of public enterprises will largely be an exercise that will not ensure practical benefits to the country.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor ; KA Jurisprudence ; KT Asia and Pacific