Energy Bangla

Energy electricity and environment news portal

Dhaka Wednesday,  Oct 4, 2023

Corruption Behind Unfit Foreign Firms Getting Power Projects: Report

TBS Report

Unqualified suppliers are obtaining contracts in power sector projects by exploiting the corruption of government officials and engaging in political lobbying, according to a report of the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED).

The power sector is also incurring escalating losses due to the utilisation of low-quality equipment in the existing power plants, the report reads.

And not just surging project costs, durations of these projects are also prolonging as a result of corruption in the sector – consequently depriving people of the country of the advantages these projects should have brought, the IMED report highlights.

The agency recently published the report on its website.

According to the report, a faction comprising corrupt officials from the ministry, Secretariat-based procurement committee, and the central procurement technical unit have made the power sector a “rehabilitation centre” for the ineligible suppliers, mostly those from China and India.

The report states that the purchase of low-quality machinery from unqualified vendors has created serious management and maintenance problems in the sector.

In order to combat corruption within the power sector, the IMED report suggests implementing punitive measures against the officials found guilty of such misconduct.

The IMED says the biggest problem in Bangladesh’s power sector is the wrong policy of transferring skilled manpower and experienced engineers.

Another significant issue highlighted in the report is the lack of an automatic system in many power plants, where automatic generation control or free governor mode operation for automatic control is not implemented.

To address these challenges, the agency has recommended the implementation of smart, visionary, and future-oriented planning that prioritises transparency and accountability.

The report discloses a disheartening lack of progress in 67 ongoing projects within the power department.

Among the 12 ongoing projects of the Power Development Board, seven have already surpassed the seven- to nine-year implementation period. These projects have achieved a physical progress rate of 74%. Notably, one project has been under implementation for over 10 years, yet its progress stands at a mere 30.86%.

Similarly, the physical progress of the 17 projects handled by the Power Grid Company of Bangladesh is only 51%, despite being implemented for seven to nine years. Furthermore, the company has been executing six projects for a span of 4-6 years, with only 50% actual progress achieved.

The Rural Power Development Board has encountered challenges with their six projects that have been ongoing for a period of 4-6 years. However, the physical progress level for these projects is only 48%.

The IMED report also identifies several projects from other power sector organisations, including the Dhaka Power Distribution Company, Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited, West Zone Power Distribution Company and the Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh.

The report highlights a recurring issue of power projects facing delays, with some cases experiencing time extensions of more than 300%.

It observes that the construction of grid substations and transmission infrastructure is not synchronised with the progress of work in power plants across various projects. Consequently, there is a failure to establish power evacuation facilities within the expected timeframe, as stated by the IMED.

It says the slow progress of the Power Grid Company of Bangladesh projects has resulted in a significant setback where the construction of the transmission line becomes infeasible even after completing the power station construction.

For instance, the Ashuganj 450MW Cycle Power Plant (North) Project and the Shikalbaha 225MW Dual Fuel Combined Cycle Power Plant Construction Project in Chattogram, under the Bangladesh Electricity Development Board, have encountered challenges in coordinating the construction of the transmission line, as per the report.

Additionally, the report highlights that project implementation is, at times, uncertain due to the lack of proper field-level surveys before undertaking projects.

The installation of an off-grid wind solar hybrid system with an HFO-based Engine drive generator by PDB on Hatiya Island in Noakhali had to be cancelled after four years, as the main work for the project was not carried out despite its initiation, the IMED points out.

It says the inefficiency of the project department also significantly hampers the progress of project work.

For instance, in the case of the Rampal Power Plant area, the land development work, conservation, and boundary wall construction for the second block, implemented by the BPDB, were not completed within the stipulated timeframe, despite all procurement activities being carried out through the direct procurement method.

Due to similar inefficiencies, the Solar Street Lighting Programme in the City Corporation project has only achieved a financial progress rate of 12% over a span of five years, according to the IMED report.

Commenting is closed here