Staff Correspondent: The central bank is set to publish information about the import for the Rooppur nuclear power plant project separately, officials said.
The import data of July 2018 will be made available next week.
“We’ll publish import information about the Rooppur plant under a separate head of our regular monthly statement,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told the FE on Friday over phone.
The BB has taken the initiative in line with its board of directors’ decisions to make public the actual import situation, according to the central banker.
He also said the new head will be included under ‘others’ import category.
Bangladesh’s overall import orders recorded an all-time high of US$ 16.10 billion in November 2017 when the letter of credit (LC) of a large amount was opened for the Rooppur nuclear power plant.
State-run Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) opened the LC worth $ 11.38 billion through the government-owned Sonali Bank Limited to import different items, including capital machinery, according to the BB officials.
The nuclear energy research and regulatory body is in charge of implementing the project with financial, technical and technological support from Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation.
Talking to another BB official said a total of $718 million was settled out of $11.38 billion import orders for the plant until July of the current calendar year.
Quoting Sonali Bank officials, the central banker said that the import settlement figures would increase significantly in the coming months.
“Such settlements will help squeeze the figure of total import outstanding gradually,” the central banker noted.
He also said the country’s total outstanding import figure jumped during the last fiscal year (FY) mainly due to the opening of LC for the plant.
The country’s overall outstanding import shot up by more than 70 per cent or $ 15.90 billion to $38.45 billion during the fiscal year (FY) 2017-18 from $22.56 billion during the FY’17, the BB data showed.
The project cost of the plant is estimated at $ 12.65 billion, 90 per cent of which will be provided by the Russian government on credit with LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) plus 1.75 per cent interest. The remaining 10 per cent will be provided by the Bangladesh government.
The commission is settling the LC using the Russian credit, which will have the tenure of 30 years with a 10-year grace period. Bangladesh will have to start repaying the loans from March 2027.
The loan has to be repaid within 20 years in equal semi-annual installments on March 15 and September 15 of each year.
The first principal repayment is scheduled for March 15, 2027, according to an official document.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the main construction work of the plant on November 30, 2017 with which the country has entered into the era of nuclear power generation.
Mr. Khan emphasised formulating a new import policy for the sector to sustain and further accelerate the growth of national economy.
Wendy Werner, International Finance Corporation (IFC) Country Manager for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, said IFC invested $ 800 million in Bangladesh over the span of last five years.
Besides improving efficiency, she suggested improving power transmission and distribution system alongside service system in the coming years by investing a part of the total investment for it.
Senior Vice President of S K Gas Kim Yong Bum cited four challenges that Bangladesh needs to address. The challenges, according to him, are wide-scale infrastructure, logistic supply cost, fuel efficiency and diversification.
The high official of the South Korean petrochemical giant also suggested importing advanced technologies like other developed and developing economies to ensure maximum use of resources.
Girish Gelli, director of international business of Mytrah Energy, hailed Bangladesh government for taking proactive steps for promoting renewable energy in the power-mix.
He focused on supporting and improving the pricing of renewable energy alongside strong regulatory framework.
Neil Menzies, President of Chevron Bangladesh, Richard Reisig, Head of Gas to Power, Siemens, and Mamun Rashid, managing partner of PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), also spoke at the seminar.