Share Market

Bangladesh Share Market on Time Bomb

The top brasses in the ruling government is surely not taking the very alarming issue of share market scam seriously, though the bankruptcy of the 3.5 million small investors, who are almost losing their last hope in the share market, would finally take the shape of political inferno, which not only would unseat the government, but would also put many of the behind the scene dirty players into dire consequence. Similar scam in share market took place in Bangladesh when Bangladesh Awami League formed government in 1996. In that scam of 1997, a few hundred thousand small investors became visibly pauper, while most of the nasty gamers behind this scam were big fishes of the then ruling party.

This time again, when Awami League came in power, the share market started growing up and share prices nearly doubled in 2010, thus provoking the small investors in putting their money into it. The trend of increase in share price continued nearly for a year, until February 2011, when the share prices again started virtually landing flat. The number of individual investors rose to 3.5 million from lesser than 500,000 in 2010, when the share prices started jumping up. Many small investors even borrowed large amount of money from the local banks and invested it in the share market with the hope of making good profit. To many, share business became one of the top attractive areas. Financial experts were already expressing great concern over the sudden increase in the share prices, thinking it the repeat of the same old-styled scam-game of some manipulators. Surprisingly enough, this time again, few of the front ranking share market scammers were the same old faces, who virtually looted public wealth in 1997. On February 28, 2010, the general index fell more than 40 percent to 5,203 from the high of 8,918.51 of December 5, 2010.

It may be mentioned here that, since Awami League won the general election on December 28, 2008, the price of a membership of Dhaka Stock Exchange suddenly jumped from TK. 70 million [US$ 1 million] to TK. 900-950 million, as the stock traders were sure of another “gambling scope” in the stock market. During the 2010-2011 stock market manipulation, even some of the petty employees at the various stock brokerage firms in Bangladesh became millionaires.

When the share market has visibly crashed thus 3.5 million investors are surely going to lose everything, the government is reluctant in doing anything in reviving the stock market. The finance minister, instead of taking any effective steps to salvage the small investors, publicly abused the investors as “greedy” and “touts”.

Speaking to Weekly Blitz, a highly placed source in Dhaka Stock Exchange said, “There is no hope for the share prices to rise up to the level, where it had been in 2010. It was a game played by some share scammers, and now they have already extracted the money from the market safely.”

The source indicated that the small investors will never get their investments returned, as it is not possible for the government to “take out the money, which had already been looted by the share scammers and their gang.”

Share analysts feel that the Bangladesh’s stock market is not functioning efficiently and that manipulators are still active from behind the scenes with the ulterior motive of stealing cash from less informed small investors. The market regulators are aware of the share manipulating individuals and companies, but are not “daring” to take actions.

Sensing possible disaster from the 3.5 million small investors, some of the owners of stock brokerage companies are secretly selling out their membership and leaving the country. It is anticipated that, if the government will not be able to do something substantive in salvaging the small investors from the mere disaster, the 3.5 million investors and their family members would finally start violently reacting to such state-patronized fraud in the share market, as most of the kingpins of share scam belong to the ruling party.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is already in United States for attending UN meetings, while at home; her ministers are reluctantly watching the growing bonfire at the share market, without even realizing that this issue is gradually turning into a devastating time bomb for the ruling party. The government and the ruling party possibly are failing to assess the degree of political hazard, they are inviting by letting the manipulators continuing stealing cash of the innocent small investors from the share market. This is real alarming time for the government to take some immediate steps. If Sheikh Hasina and her government will not be able to take any real measures in saving the small investors forthwith, they surely will face the huge political catastrophe – not very far!