Prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s power, energy and mineral resources affairs adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury virtually addresses a seminar ‘Energy Security for Sustainable Development’ at FBCCI on 4 August 2022

Industry and agriculture will get priority to electricity rationing, prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s power, energy and mineral resources affairs adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury said on Thursday.

Tawfiq was virtually addressing a seminar ‘Energy Security for Sustainable Development’ at FBCCI (Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industries).

He said that Ukraine crisis has disrupted the world's energy supply chain. Government has come up with electricity rationing to deal with this situation. The initiative has been taken for uninterrupted electricity supply in industry and agro sector, said a press release.

Attending as the special guest, principal secretary to the prime minister Ahmad Kaikaus informed that the government has special care for the industry and service sector.

Despite prioritising industry and service sector, some factories are facing load shedding as they are located in residential areas.

However, Kaikaus urged the factory owners to inform concerned authorities while load shedding disrupts the production.

FBCCI president Md. Jashim Uddin, at his welcome speech, said that the government should emphasise coal-based power generation.

Mentioning that many developed countries are back to coal based power, Bangladesh also should emphasise on coal exploration and power generation with coal.

The FBCCI president also urged for offshore gas exploration and drilling. He called for strengthening the BAPEX (Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Limited).

While delivering the keynote paper, FBCCI's panel adviser and retired BUET professor Ijaz Hossain said that the average growth of the industry sector has been hampered due to shortage of gas.

Sole dependency on gas for power generation is putting the country's energy security at risk, he noted.

To ensure long term energy security, he suggested expanding gas exploration activities, increasing the use of coal in power generation - especially with local coal, and using cost-effective energy strategies.

In the panel discussion at the seminar, retired professor of Dhaka University Badrul Imam advised to emphasise on offshore gas exploration. The same was echoed by FBCCI director and MCCI (Dhaka) president Md. Saiful Islam.

FBCCI director and BTMA president Mohammad Ali Khokon demanded for creation of an emergency fund to deal with the energy crisis.

Chairman of FBCCI's standing committee on electricity and energy Humayun Rashid called for diversification in energy mix.

Editor of Energy and Power magazine, Mollah M. Amzad Hossain suggested exploring at least 10 gas fields a year.

Former additional secretary Siddique Zobair urged BEPZA (Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority) to facilitate solar power generation on the rooftop of EPZ factories.

BAPEX MD Mohammad Ali informed 150 mmcf gas will be added from Bhola district. By 2025, BAPEX plans to add 618 mmcf of gas, he added.

FBCCI vice president Salahuddin Alamgir, Md. Habib Ullah Dawn, directors, chairman of different standing committees, secretary general Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque and business leaders from various organisations were present at the seminar.