Bangladesh needs $10b annually to import primary fuel: CPD

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Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) at a seminar on Thursday said Bangladesh will have to spend $10 billion annually to import primary fuel for operation of the power plants.

The country will need $833 million every month, stated the think tank.

“This cost will go up to $20 billion in 2025 as the government has been pursuing an import-dependent energy policy,” said eminent energy expert Izaj Hossain while addressing the seminar.

CPD organised the seminar titled ‘Challenges in the Energy and Power Sector. Can the proposed National Budget address those Challenges?’ at a hotel in the city, reports UNB.

Making a presentation on the topic CPD research director Khondaker Golam Moazzem expressed apprehension that the ongoing power and energy crisis will be deepened in the coming days due to “the import-dependent wrong policies of the government”.

He said though the government set a goal to generate 40 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2041, there is no convincible programme in place to achieve that goal.

“Rather, now the goal has been changed saying that up to 40 per cent of electricity will be generated from clean energy by 2041,” he added.

FBCCI senior vice president Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu, professor at the department of Geology in Dhaka University Badrul Imam, dean at the faculty of engineering in Daffodil International University professor M Shamsul Alam, professor at the department of electrical engineering in Independent University of Bangladesh Khosru Md Selim also addressed the seminar.

Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu said many industries have been suffering from acute gas and electricity crisis.

“Despite price hike, industries have to experience 5-6 hours of load shedding every day,” he said adding that the core problem is the dollar crisis for which it’s not possible to import primary fuels like LNG, furnace oil and coal.

He said that the policymakers did not look into the production of primary fuels like coal and gas from domestic sources.

Prof Badrul Imam said an international consultant placed its recommendation for enhancement of gas production from the existing field. But the government totally ignored that recommendation and moved to import LNG to address the energy crisis.

Prof Izaj Hossain said Bangladesh should go for drilling at least 25 wells per year while it is drilling less than that.

Prof Shamsul Alam said the government was advised to create a price stabilisation fund to provide emergency funding support to the energy sector, but they did not follow. Rather, they illegally used money from Gas Development Fund to import LNG violating the rule.