The country’s overall economic growth will largely depend on good governance, energy affordability and quality service in power and energy sector, speakers at a virtual seminar observed Thursday.
They also suggested for oil and gas exploration in onshore and offshore blocks and quick retirement of expensive and inefficient oil-fired power plants to make the sector more efficient.
The speakers came up with the observation during a virtual seminar titled: “Bangabandhu: Energy Security and Today’s Bangladesh.”
Forum for Energy Reporters Bangladesh (FERB) organised the webinar in association with Bangladesh Independent Power Producers’ Association (BIPPA) to mark National Energy Security Day 2020.
On this day in 1975, the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had taken an historic decision to take over five gas fields from Anglow-Dutch Shell Oil at a cost of 4.5 million pound, a bold move towards ensuring the country’s energy security.
State minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid was the chief guest at the webinar, while former Bangladesh Bank governor Dr Mohammed Farashuddin, who was also the personal secretary of Bangabandhu, was the special guest.
Speaking on the occasion Hamid said the government is working to ensure affordable, quality power and energy and good governance for sustainable growth of this sector.
He said the government has opened up the scope of using multi-energy sources to reduce any future risk posed by over dependence on any specific sort of energy.
Completion of the ongoing construction work of Single Point Mooring, Dhaka-Chittagong oil-carrying pipeline will save around Tk 10 billion annually, he said.
It will also help stop oil pilferage by a vested quarter, he added.
Hamid also stressed on running public buses, private cars, trains, three-wheelers on electricity for smooth operations at affordable cost.
He said money is no more a problem for implementing power and energy projects but the problem remains in adequate manpower.
The government is trying to introduce modern technology and paper-less office to ensure good governance, he said.
The government will ensure cent per cent electricity access within the ongoing Mujib year, said Hamid.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her 2009 election manifesto, unveiled a plan to ensure electricity for all, whereas no other parties understood the importance of preserving energy, he claimed.
Bangladesh has come out of the most challenging part with ensuring 97 electricity coverage, an upbeat Nasrul Hamid said.
Bangladesh has been listed among the top 10 ultra-super critical plant installing countries in the world, he pointed out. “We are producing power from ultra-super critical plants to control hazardous gas emission.”
Dr Mohammed Farashuddin said Bangabandhu was keen on electrification for the war-ravaged country and instructed for rural electrification then.
Unfortunately, he could not see the development during his life time, he added. He said corruption in banking sector is ‘well known,’ despite that people are depositing money on confidence. Bangladesh Independent Power Producer Association (BIPPA) president Imran Karim said the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was farsighted.
“Bangladesh would have seen such progress and development 25 years ago if Bangabandhu had been alive,” he remarked. With the leadership of his daughter Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has observed over 7 percent GDP growth and has the prospect of economic recovery in the next year, he said.
FERB president Arun Karmakar chaired the event, while FERB executive director Shamim Jahangir moderated the virtual seminar.
Energy and Power magazine editor Mollah M Amzad Hossain presented the keynote paper at the event.
Former Bapex managing director Mortuza Ahmed Faruq Chisty, former Bangladesh Power Development Board chairman Khaled Mahmood, energy expert Saleque Sufi, FERB senior members Shahnaj Begum, M Azizur Rahman, Shahed Siddique, Rafiqul Basar and Muzaherul Islam Rumen also spoke on the occasion.