Will “Pretis” buy lighters for grenades from Serbian “Krušik” instead of “Binas”?

Foreign buyers from Malaysia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and India are interested in “Binas” products… Many of them have been coming to Bugojno in recent months, but cooperation has not been agreed upon, although potential multi-million dollar contracts have been discussed

Foreign buyers from Malaysia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and India are interested in “Binas” products… Many of them have been coming to Bugojno in recent months, but cooperation has not been agreed upon, although potential multi-million dollar contracts have been discussed.

BY: S. DEGIRMENDŽIĆ/FOKUS.BA

The Bugojan factory of dedicated industry “Binas” is running into problems, the plants are not working, and the company has a contracted job of 20 million KM which cannot be realized due to the suspension of work, Fokus.ba learns from informed sources in the FBiH Government. This is evidenced by the documentation in the possession of Fokus, from which it is evident that for the realization of the contract of “Pretis” from Vogošća with Saudi Arabia for the delivery of 150,000 grenades, “Binas” was supposed to produce lighters for those grenades worth about 20 million KM. The contract was concluded at the beginning of last year, and its implementation was supposed to be completed at the end of 2022.

Facsimile of part of the documentation in Fokus’ possession: Only the contract with “Pretis” worth about 20 million KM.

FOR “KRUŠIK” CASH, FOR “BINAS” DEFERRED PAYMENT

However, after “Binas” produced the delivery for the first contract lot of 10,000 lighters, further delivery stopped due to the suspension of production. This is just one of the examples and evidence that this company could work, if it had work, but that someone’s goal is obviously to create further losses, which are already measured in tens of millions of KM and which, as time goes on, are getting bigger and will be increasingly difficult to reach.

Considering that “Binas” was supposed to deliver 140,000 more lighters to “Pretis”, if the production in the Bugojan company is not started, the company “Krušik” from Kragujevac in Serbia will be happy because, if “Pretis” wants to comply with the contract with Saudi Arabia, they will have to import lighters from Serbia.

According to the claims of our interlocutors, “Pretis” has previously bought lighters from Serbia, when it was able to pay for the delivery immediately. When “Pretis” didn’t have money for cash purchases, our interlocutors claim, then they took lighters from “Binas” for a year or two to delay payment.

So, in a way, “Binas” actually gave credit to “Pretis”, and the Government of FBiH, as the majority owner of both of these companies, was a real mother to one, and a stepmother to the other.

Because, if it were not so, then the Government of FBiH would treat both of these companies, which are equally important, as a good host and owner, and through adequate supervision and management, it would primarily take care of the public interest and well-being that the good business of these companies brings with it.

In addition to the above-mentioned contracted work, foreign buyers from Malaysia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and India are interested in the products of “Binas”… Many of them have been coming to Bugojno in recent months, and some have decided to place trial orders of smaller quantities of products before multi-million deals are concluded. However, all of them are under a big question mark, because in “Binas” games are being played that the authorities do not want to talk about, and only a few of those who are familiar with the events in and around this company are allowed to talk about this topic, but on the condition that they remain anonymous.

Part of the documentation on orders from “Binas” for this year: It is clear that there is customer interest in Binas products, but it is hidden

Recently, the FBiH Government, as the majority owner of “Binas”, should have signed a contract worth several million KM for the purchase of “Binas” products with a buyer from Slovakia, and the Government of FBiH should have given certain guarantees to “Binas”, but the contract was not signed.

Our sources say that the increasingly certain scenario is that this once respectable company will be completely reduced to a “beggar’s stick” and that, like “Vitezit”, Fabrika Duhana Sarajevo or other giants that employed thousands of workers, “end up” in private hands for little money.

The Government of the FBiH and the Minister of Energy, Mining and Industry, Nermin Đindić, know that some other dedicated industry companies in the FBiH also rely on the production at “Binas”, because “Binas” is the only producer of lighters for grenades whose services were used by other companies to complete their export product range.

In an attempt to shed light on all events related to “Binas”, we sent a question to “Pretis” about how the suspension of production at the Bugojan company will affect their business, primarily export contracts, as well as whether instead of the lighters for grenades being bought from our company, be bought from the Serbian company “Krušik”.

Although “Pretis” responded to Fokus’ inquiry, it did not contain an answer to any of our questions, and the company from Vogošća justifies this with the obligation to keep data confidential.

– All data related to production contracts, method and quantity of delivery are defined as secret data, in accordance with the Law on Production and Trade of Weapons and Military Equipment in FBiH. Everything related to the production contracts of the company is controlled by the majority owner, and only he can put certain data into circulation. We emphasize the above because, as a company engaged in the production and trade of weapons and ammunition, whose work and production are regulated by legal and internal acts, we are not able to answer your inquiry and provide information regarding the work of the company, because that would be committing an offence that is, made secret information available to unauthorized persons, in accordance with Article 19 of the Law on the Production and Trade of Weapons and Military Equipment in the FBiH – they stated, among other things, from “Pretis” for Fokus.

DŽINDIĆ SHUTS UP, MANĐUKA A PESSIMIST, BUT REMAINS IN THE ARMCHAIR

We asked Minister Nermin Đindić why he is silent about the fact that “Binas” already has a contract with “Pretis” worth 20 million KM and what he specifically did to solve the problems in this company, but we did not receive an answer. After our inquiry, Džindić had a meeting with the trade unionists of several special purpose industry companies in Goražde. Then he even announced the start of production in “Binas”, but more than a month has passed since then, and there is no progress in solving the problems of the company from Bugojno.

Minister Džndić did not answer our questions

On the other hand, we also asked the current director of “Binas”, Abaz Manđuka, what he has done to solve the problems at “Binas” since he was appointed to the position of director, what are the main reasons why “Binas” is not working, what are the losses in that company, as well as how many contracts for production and export he found when he came to “Binas” and how many of them were implemented. We also asked Manđuka about the involvement of “Binas” in the contract that “Pretis” has with Saudi Arabia.

In his answer to Fokus, Manđuka stated what we all know, namely that “Binas Bugojno is in an extremely difficult situation”.

– Unconscionable business in the last 15 years from the management of the company, as a relationship of property owners and putting the problem under the carpet has come to pay. Frequent work stoppages, disobedience and lawsuits by employees complicate the situation in society.
The company operated with losses in the previous period. In the previous two years, there was no production, so the company’s obligations increased. The loss of customers and the market makes it difficult to return to normal – said Manđuka.

Without concrete answers to our specific questions, Manđuka also stated that the FBiH Government appointed him to the position of director in October of last year, and that he came to that position on December 1, 2021, due to, as he stated, “procedural errors” and, as pointed out, again “due to procedural errors” he was only registered as an authorized person in the Municipal Court in Travnik on May 9 of this year.

– Insolvency of the company represents difficulties in business. We are trying to get back on the market. The Government of the Federation passed the Decision on the consolidation of the company in order to make it easier to operate. All this is not enough to repair the mistakes made previously.
It is difficult to answer your questions in a few sentences. I invite you to visit “Binas” and create a realistic story and picture of a very difficult situation – Manđuka stated in response to Fokus’ inquiry.

Although Manđuka has a relatively short tenure as a director in “Binas” and judging by his answers, he is pessimistic about the company’s recovery, he still holds on to the director’s chair and does not give up the privileges it brings with him.

Our source from the FBiH Government says that the relevant ministry knows that Manđuk found the company in a bad state, but he also found a valuable contract with Egypt, which has not yet been realized.

– In the meantime, “Pretis” paid off a debt of 3.5 million KM to “Binas”, and Manđuk spent part of that money on workers’ salaries, and part on materials needed for production in order to fulfil the contract with Egypt. Some materials arrived, but most did not, so even today the goods for Egypt have not left. Manđuka has been at “Binas” for about seven months, and during that time the company is already in the red by three million KM. By the end of the year, if it stays like this, that amount will be doubled. If the FBiH Government wanted to, it would solve this problem as soon as possible – says our source.

“Binas” from Bugoja: The only factory in FBiH that produces lighters for grenades brought to the brink of collapse

Bakir Morić, president of the trade union branch “Binas”, tells Fokus that he cannot comment on anything related to the contracted jobs of “Binas”, but says that the workers come to work, but have nothing to do.

– We don’t know why we don’t work either. We come to work, but we have nothing to do, so it’s not up to us. We still stand by the claims that the management appointed by the FBiH Government should take responsibility and finally start doing their job. We are not an obstacle, we come to work, but there is no one to tell us what to do – says Morić, adding that the workers also told both Director Manđuka and Minister Đindić their thoughts.

FATHERS, SONS AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS OF SDA OFFICIALS LOVE DEDICATED PRODUCTS

In the last three years, as many as four directors have changed in “Binas”. It is evident that the Government of FBiH appoints suitable, not capable personnel to the position of director in this strategic company, none of whom was responsible for bringing the former giant to ruin.

Therefore, there are more and more justified suspicions that the goal is to devalue this company so that it can be bought by a private individual from the dedicated industry, which would primarily benefit by obtaining the license for the production of explosives that “Binas” has.

Because, if it were otherwise, the Government of the FBiH would have exercised better control over this company in recent years and would have found a way not only to save it but to invest in this dedicated industry company because it is common knowledge that this industry is among the few growing branches in the world, export is oriented and, according to experts’ assessments, a double profit is returned for every brand invested in that industry.

In FBiH, there are 12 private companies engaged in dedicated production, but none of them have a license to work with explosives like the one that “Binas” has. Even the son of one of the former directors of “Binas”, Adem Huskić, at the time when his father was at the head of “Binas”, opened a company that dealt with dedicated industry, because of which Adem Huskić found himself in a conflict of interest and was dismissed. All this happened during the mandate of this government of Fadil Novalić and is another proof of how the government treated such phenomena in the company of which it is the majority owner.

Our sources also say that the brother of Melika Mahmutbegović, the vice-president of the FBiH, has a dedicated industry company in Bugojno and that this is one of the reasons why Mahmutbegović does not get involved in solving the problem of “Binas”, because, according to their claims, it is more important for her that the company does well her brother, but “competition”.

The FBiH government likes to boast that it has recently invested 16 million KM in “Binas”.

However, the workers repeatedly pointed out that only about 400,000 KM were invested in production, and that the remaining money went to pay debts owed to the workers, who are waiting for the payment of another six salaries. There are currently 230 workers in “Binas”, but since September of last year, 125 of them have left the company. Among the workers who left are a large number of engineers, around 20 of them.

From the protest in front of the FBiH Government: 125 workers left Binas

Recently, the director of “Binas” announced a competition for the admission of 12 workers for a certain period of time, and in the advertisement, he is looking for five engineers, two economists and five workers for the maintenance of the factory circuit.

All these are details that illustrate the real situation in “Binas” and the ignorant attitude of the Government of FBiH, which brought this company to its present, difficult situation, because the Government does not take care of its property. However, as the pressure on workers who are announcing the possibility of a general strike is growing on the eve of the general elections, it would not be surprising if the FBiH Government suddenly shows “interest and concern” for this company.

Workers have already seen this scenario four days before the local elections in 2020, when Fadil Novalić, Prime Minister of FBiH, Bakir Izetbegović, President of SDA, and Melika Mahmutbegović, Vice President of FBiH, attended the presentation of the new grenade in “Binas” and boasted about the company’s successes.

Then Novalić announced new plans and the growth of this industry. However, it quickly turned out that it was another one of the usual pre-election “colourful lies” of our politicians, because instead of further growth, more strategically important for the state dedicated industry companies were faced with numerous problems in the past year and a half.

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