Speakers at a webinar Saturday underscored the necessity to shut down old and inefficient power plants including rental and quick rental ones to improve the efficiency level of the country’s power sector.
They also opined for ensuring uninterrupted and quality electricity supply to consumers including industrial ones and phase out captive power plants gradually.
They were speaking at the webinar titled “Upcoming National Budget FY 2021-22: Expectation of Power Producers” organised by the Forum for Energy Reporters Bangladesh (FERB).
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MPEMR) Nasrul Hamid was the chief guest at the function, while Vice President of Independent Power Producers Association (BIPPA) Md Mozammel Hossain delivered the keynote presentation.
“We are expecting an allocation of Tk 261.18 billion in the national budget for the next fiscal year (FY) 2021-22,” said Mr Hamid, while speaking as the chief guest.
Allocation for power sector in the current FY 2020-2021 was around Tk 247.68 billion.
Transmission and distribution sectors will get focused in next budget, he said.
State-run power entities can save cost by around 1.0-2.0 per cent by improving the efficiency level, adapting new technology and shutting inefficient power plants, said the junior minister.
Regarding the BIPPA’s demand for withholding 34 per cent import duty on the import of high sulfur fuel oil (HSFO) and advance import tax (AIT), Mr Hamid said the government was supporting the private sector by providing tax benefits over the past one decade to ensure the smooth growth of power sector and develop the initial base of the private sector.
Now they have a strong base, he said, adding, besides, the government has to spend in different infrastructure projects.
Some 8.0 million consumers especially in Rural Electrification Board (REB) areas are under ‘lifeline’ electricity bill payment mechanism, he added.
“It is a matter of great satisfaction that we could provide uninterrupted electricity during the previous heatwave despite the ongoing COVID-19 situation,” said Power Secretary Md Habibur Rahman.
State-run Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) is incurring loss of around Tk 70-80 billion annually as it counts loss Tk 1.16 against a single unit trade of electricity, BPDB chairman Md Belayet Hossain said.
He also criticised the demand from private sector to extend the tenure of IPPs.
“You (IPP) did not oppose taking higher tariff from us when we purchased electricity at two to three times higher prices. Why you are raising the issue of extending tenures now?” he questioned.
BIPPA Chairman Imran Karim said the import duty on HSFO an AIT on machineries are now emerged as bottlenecks for private sector in generating electricity.
Director General of Power Cell Mohammad Hossain also spoke at the webinar presided over by FERB Chairman Arun Karmakar. FERB Executive Director Shamim Jahangir moderated the session.