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CPD: Discontinue Speedy Supply of Power and Energy Act

  • Published at 04:21 pm June 20th, 2021
power plant
File photo Syed Zakir Hossain/ Dhaka Tribune

The law is supposed to expire on October 10 this year

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) on Sunday called for discontinuation of the Speedy Supply of Power and Energy (Special) Act 2010, scheduled to expire next October, in the interest of the country’s power and energy sector.

“We apprehend that if it continues, it would create room for corruption, reduce scope for competition and increase non-transparency in the project implementation process,” Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director of the think-tank, said at a webinar on Sunday.

The law is supposed to expire on October 10 this year, he added.

The virtual seminar, titled “Power Sector in the National Budget for FY 2021-22: Perspective on Allocative Priorities & Reform Agenda,” was organized by the CPD with its Chairman Professor Rehman Sobhan in the chair.

It was addressed by energy expert and BUET teacher Professor M Tamim, Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (Sreda) Chairman Mohammad Alauddin, Power Cell Director General Mohammad Hossain, IDCOL Managing Director Mahmud Malik, and Bangladesh Independent Power Producers Association (BIPPA) President Imran Karim.

Also read - Diversify energy mix to meet industrial needs, say experts

Executive Director of CPD Dr Fahmida Khatun moderated the discussion.

Moazzem said the law was enacted targeting special needs in 2010.

“But Bangladesh’s energy and power sector now needs to shift its activities from ‘emergency management’ to ‘market-led’ management and it needs to improve its transparency, accountability and efficiency,” he added.

He noted that the power and energy sector received an allocation of Tk27,484 crore in which power got Tk25,398 crore and energy got Tk2,086 crore, with 62% of the focus on generation.

“It now needs a shift in allocation more on transmission and distribution from generation,” he said.

The CPD suggested increasing budget allocation for renewable energy saying that financial incentives should be further widened in the sector.

“Foreign direct investment (FDI) in renewable energy should be facilitated by making the domestic business environment favourable including making the businesses viable and de-risking,” Moazzem added.

“The power sector should be made competitive and all types of bidding should be held under an open bidding system maintaining transparency,” he further said.

Dr M Tamim said there is a huge gap between the government’s figure of power generation capacity and the real scenario.

“Our actual deliverable capacity is 14,000 MW while the maximum generation capacity is 18,000 MW,” he said, adding, the statement about the 23,000 MW is a political propaganda.  

He said Bangladesh should adopt its own model based on an appropriate technology to address its energy problem instead of following any other country’s model.

Also read - ‘Dhaka consumes 46% of the electricity Bangladesh generates’

Mohammad Alauddin said the government is preparing a Delta Plan where the country’s renewable energy generation target was set at 30,000 MW by 2041.

Mohammad Hossain said the government is now trying to shift its focus on development of transmission and distribution lines from its current focus on generation.

CPD Chairman Professor Rehman Sobhan questioned why many power plants are still operating which should have been retired by now. 

He also asked the speakers to identify how much of the excess capacity has been attributed to distribution failure.

In the closing remarks, Dr Fahmida Khatun said uninterrupted power supply is crucial, otherwise production cost and efficiency of industries is hampered. 

“CPD will continue pursuing its effort for green growth and clean energy initiatives in the country, taking into account Bangladesh’s long-term commitments,” she added.

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