Businesses on Sunday demanded quality electricity, efficient transmission line and predictable regulatory policy in power sector to encourage private sector investment in the country.
‘It is true that Bangladesh has made excellent progress in generating electricity but private sector businesses are facing many difficulties due to lack of quality electricity,’ Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said at a discussion.
Investment plans are needed to ensure the best use of power to take the country into next step of the development process, he said at the institutional dialogue on ‘success in power production: best use for the dynamic growth’ organised by the FBCCI at Westin Hotel in the city.
The chief of the country’s apex trade body also identified non-performing loans and high interest rate of bank loans as the impediments for private sector investment.
Prime minister’s private industry and investment adviser Salman F Rahman attended the event as the chief guest.
‘We want to see that the government takes a firm hand against the offenders, and encourages the honest people in dealing with non-performing loans,’ Mohiuddin said.
He said that there were two types of non-performing loans —some of the businesses become defaulters due to loss in business and some others made their loans non-performing willingly.
The government should take necessary actions against businesses who made their loans non-performing willingly, the FBCCI president said.
Citing the status of ease of doing business, Mohiuddin said that it was disgraceful that Bangladesh ranked 176th in the status and the government should take initiative to improve the situation.
He requested the government to ensure effective hearing in Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission before taking any decision on power price hike. ‘The BERC hearing should not be a camera trial.’
Salman F Rahman blamed non-performing loans and high interest rate of savings certificates for the high interest rate of bank loans.
‘It is difficult to reduce the interest rate of bank loans without rationalising the high interest rate of savings certificates,’ he said.
Emphasising a planned investment policy Salman said that the present government put special emphasis on private sector in its development activities.
He said that Bangladesh achieved huge success in power production but there were corruption in mid and lower level in the power sector.
Salman requested state minister for power to address the problem.
State minister for power Nasrul Hamid said electricity generation had increased to 20,000 MW but reliable and affordable electricity remained a challenge.
He said that the government had taken various projects to ensure uninterrupted power and gas supply and the country needed private sector investment in this regard.
Nasrul assured businesses that the government would supply uninterrupted power to the planned industry.
Power secretary Ahmad Kaikaus, Bangladesh Power Development Board chairman Khaled Mahmood, Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board chairman Moinuddin, Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority chairman Helal Uddin, FBCCI senior vice‑president Sheikh Fazle Fahim and vice‑president Muntakim Ashraf took part in the discussion.
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