Businesses on Wednesday demanded affordable and predictable prices of electricity and LNG gas to be imported from early next year and their uninterrupted supply for smooth operation of industries.
At the quarterly luncheon meeting of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, they also sought a mid-term policy on LNG pricing so that entrepreneurs could make effective plans on cost of production.
In reply, the prime minister’s energy adviser Towfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury assured the business leaders that enough gas would be available from next year and price would also remain affordable in medium term.
‘There will be no constraints in quantity of gas as we will get delivery of 500 mmcfd (million cubic feet per day) imported LNG from early next year and another 500 mmcfd from middle of the year,’ he said.
LNG price will be very soft, affordable and stable in medium term and may be some budget from the government will also be there to limit the increase of gas price, he said.
But gradually industry will have to bear the cost of imported liquefied natural gas (LNG), he said.
You will also get formal letter from the government with assurance of availability of gas from next year after assessing demand of gas and bearable price for the investors, he said.
So, entrepreneurs will have to plan seriously on energy efficiency and energy conservation, he added.
He also said that the country would need at least $30 billion investment in next 5-6 years in power sector and private sector should take half of the responsibility.
The government is also planning to provide duty-free import facility like RMG bonded system for furnace fuel oil or HFO and diesel, he added.
Towfiq also said that the government hoped to bring huge investment in Moheshkhali, an island in the Bay of Bengal, to transform it like Singapore for investors and tourists.
Moheshkhali will become a power hub of the country as both floating and land LNG terminals are being set up there,
MCCI president Nihad Kabir said that though the power supply situation had improved manifold during the last few years, some issues like the availability of quality gas and electricity and stability and predictability of the prices of gas and electricity were boggling the mind of business people.
‘Gas is delivered but not at sufficient pressure, and voltage of electricity remains at lower level by which modern machinery cannot run effectively,’ she said.
Price of gas and electricity has been increased manifold, six to seven times, in the last several years and another increase has been proposed, she said.
The gains from the lower price of oil globally has generated profits for Petrobangla but the gains have not been passed on to the consumers, she pointed out.
Regarding import of LNG, she said that the government would need to prepare the public opinion acceptability of price of LNG as it is costly and its introduction will lead to some price shock.
Nihad also suggested for improvement of transmission capacities to reap the benefits of increased power supply.
She hoped that the government would conduct extensive research in the areas of power system planning, grid stability analysis, heat recovery, energy efficiency and renewable system design and provide the country with an ideal energy-mix to face the ever-increasing consumption of energy.
MCCI former president Tapan Chowdhury wanted to know whether the LNG would come from next year as the entrepreneurs are suffering shortage of gas.
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry former president Asif Ibrahim
emphasised on formulating a policy on LNG pricing at least for three-five years so that investors can estimate the cost of production.
MCCI former president Syed Nasim Manzur said that entrepreneurs needed energy.
‘Give us predictable energy at correct prices and we will give the country growth,’ he said.
Energypac Power Generation Ltd managing director Humayun Rashid, Rahimafrooz group director Munawar Misbah Moin, Association of Bankers, Bangladesh chairman Anis A Khan, among others, spoke at the meeting.