Pvt investment welcome in power sector: Nasrul
W e need huge amount of finance about $30b to $40b for power sector. At least 60 per cent to 70 per cent investment we have to collect immediately.
Staff Correspondent: Nasrul Hamid Bipu, state minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry on Friday talked with the Daily Industry at his home as he is going to complete his tenure this month. Perhaps he will not remain involve with Power and energy Ministry, if AL forms the government again.
Industry: How will you evaluate your tenure in the power and energy sector?
Nasrul: We have achieved such success which the country has never seen in power sector. We have provided electricity connections about 90 per cent of the country.We hope it will reach 100 per cent before election.We have made a large skilled team which will really work to develop the power and energy sector. We don’t have previous experience to handle billion-dollar-project. We had lack of negotiation capacity. Since, we didn’t have potential human resources. Scenario has been changed. Now we are ready to work with skilled manpower prudently. Such as DPDC used to buy only 3,000MW of power but it has 20,000MW buying capacity now. Though, the government is spending but it has enhanced the capacity as well. Those same incapable officials are working now successfully as because we trained them properly.
Industry: Do you think that you have any failure?
Nasrul: No, it is not failure but I have some challenges like arrangement of funds for the sector. If we want to continue the pace of development, we need huge amount of finance about $30b to $40b for power sector. At least 60 per cent to 70 per cent investment we have to collect immediately. Nowadays, we emphasize on efficiency of power plants to cut cost. We have huge loan and then when we will go for loan, donor will ask for efficiency. So we have to enhance efficiency of power plants. I have a plan to increase such capacity so that we can avoid government fund. We will work along with private sector.
And another challenge is transmission and distribution which should be developed because our big power plants are coming in near future. I want to transmit the power as fast as possible. We need such improvement of the transmission that could handle 5,000MW capacity plant. About 54 per cent power is being consumed by the capital city and rest 44 per cent is using in the whole country. Suppose Barishal is using only 2 per cent of electricity. So we can easily understand how they legged behind! Based on 100 per cent GDP, Barishal contributes only 3 per cent. Due to lowest electricity consumption, their contribution also is lowest. If I can ensure 5 per cent power consumption in Barishal their contribution to GDP will be 6 to 7 per cent.
Prime Minister plans to establish economic zone across the country to increase power consumption because industry will use major portion of electricity. If we have to complete ten to twelve economic zones, electricity use will be increased. If we can establish power plants in Moheshkhali, it will be costly to transmit in Dhaka or Rangpur. So we will increase electricity use in adjacent areas of plants, so we have to make the Mirersorai economic zone as early as possible to protect huge loss.
We are setting the transmission line from Payra Power Plant to Dhaka via Gopalgonj because there is no use of the power in nearby Payra site. The more I will develop Khulna and Patuakhali the more I would use electricity of Payra.
Industry: In that case, why are we setting up the plant in Payra instead of providing LNG to the existing plants sitting idle due to gas crisis that might be cheaper?
Nasrul: Aiming to develop the southern region, we are setting up the plant in Payra. After Padma Bridge construction, communication scenario of the region will be changed. Southern region is too regressive to contribute to GDP. The previous governments leaved the region unplanned but it has a potential of water resources. There we are making 9 meter depth Payra port, developing Mongla port and Khulna port as well spending $30 million. There will be an economic zone including a power plant in Barishal. The region will need 10,000MW of power. Perhaps, it doesn’t need now but our plan is for future. And agriculture also will relocate from north to south.
All the power hubs are in South but absent in North. In north there is nothing but small 200MW, 150MWcapacity power plants. Within 5 to 7 years about 20,000MWdemand for electricity will be created in the region. All the small oil-based power plants will be abolished by next five years. Our coal-based base-load plant will commission by this time.
Industry: Then, will we get cheaper electricity?
Nasrul: Look, you have to think that our buying capacity is increasing day by day. Income level of the people will be high gradually. Our budget is getting bigger, earning capacity, financial activities and power consumption are increasing daily. Price will adjust justifying the energy market. We have to think about our cost price. Cost price will be removed replacing with consumption price. Power price will remain adjust.
Industry: BAPEX engineers are not satisfied on government financial scale and a number of engineers have leaved BAPEX due to low financial packages. They demand special salary structure like other private companies; do you have any plan to re-structure of the payment module?
Nasrul: Keeping weak the BAPEX financially, we cannot expect big delivery. Previous concept was to provide subsidy. Government has created these corporations to serve them and officials also have to accept it.
Industry: What about AL election manifesto of power and energy sector?
Nasrul: I can give you a sketch only. We have achieved cited success as our previous manifesto especially in power and energy sector.
Industry: Will we work with you, if AL forms government next time?
Nasrul: Ha ha ha, of course but possibly in another ministry we will meet again.
Industry: What about your election preparation?
Nasrul: I don’t found anyone to fight me in election. Last time I requested many but none agreed to compete against me. But this time Babu Goyeshor Ray is a strong candidate against me from BNP. Though, I have very good relation with him. Once up on a time he was involved with Chatra League (JASAD). Nowadays, he is a heavy weighted leader of BNP. I am communicating with my people. Hope election will be held festively and competitive, if BNP participates in election. AL has done well during its two consecutive tenures, so I can hope that people will be with us. In this mean time, I met Roy for several time. He invited me to join puja. So if he participates, election will be lively.
Industry: Thank you.
Nasrul: Thank you too, will meet you again.