Lacking of gas connection
Shah Alam Nur: The industrial production of the manufacturing sector is facing severe crisis for inadequate gas supply, said stakeholders. Uninterrupted gas connection is a must in the apparel industries for higher production, they said. There are some 50 factories are failed to go for production for lack of inadequate gas, they said adding some Tk 20,000 crore has already invested in those factories.
Meanwhile, the stakeholders are forcing to repay their bank installment; as a result, they are incurring huge loss.
They demanded for supplying uninterrupted gas supply for the industries especially the new factories to revamp the RMG and related sectors.
Manufacturing industry has been facing shortage of energy, which is taking toll on production. Many manufacturing units have remained inactive due to gas shortage and some units are using diesel-run generator. As a result, cost of production has gone up.
Insiders said, production in many manufacturing units is well below the target, as most of the industries cannot utilize 100 per cent capacity for short supply of energy.
They said when most of the industries have been hit by shortage of gas and power; the government increased the price of energy, affecting their competitiveness in the world market.
The country’s industrial sector, which contributes nearly 20 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), experienced a slowdown in production in recent times due to the power and gas shortage.
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) data shows there are over 0.24 million (2.4 lakh) manufacturing units across the country.
The Petrobangla (Bangladesh Oil, Gas & Mineral Corporation), produces around 2,313 million cubic feet (CF) of gas per day against the demand for around 3,000 million cubic feet.
The manufacturing industry, including glass and glass product, carpet and rugs, petroleum refinery, industrial chemicals, leather products, transport equipments, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, wood products, ceramic, cement and electronic goods showed slow growth.
The small scale manufacturing industries like rice mills, dairy products, knitwear, leather products, footwear, embroidery, wooden furniture and non-metallic mineral products showed downward growth in the first six months of the current fiscal year.
Mizanur Rahman Babul, Vice-Chairman of Bangladesh Re-rolling Mills Association, said “The country’s steel re-rolling mills are unable to utilise their full capacity due to the low pressure of gas.”
He said that the country’s steel re-rolling mills had been utilising at best 60 per cent of their capacity for the last one year.
Babul, who is also Managing Director of Rahman Steel Re-rolling Mills (Pvt) Ltd as well located at Narayanganj, said that the political situation in the first three months of the current calendar year had not been business-friendly in the absence of required energy supply.
He said, the steel re-rolling mills are the bulk gas users as production in such units depends on smooth gas supply.
Mahbub Alam, President of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) said “Though most of the major industries are located in Chittagong, the supply of gas and power in the area is not satisfactory.”
He said that the daily gas supply in Chittagong was fluctuating between 200 and 250 million cubic feet against the actual demand for 420 million cubic feet per day.
Siddiqur Rahman, former President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said that due to the power shortage the manufacturing costs of readymade garment (RMG) factories increased by about 20 per cent in the recent times.
He said, the RMG sector has been facing power shortage of around 30 per cent, as about 406mw electricity is being supplied by the government against the demand for 620 megawatts. An additional amount of Tk 20 billion had been spent by the RMG unit owners last year because of the gas and electricity shortage, he added.
Jahangir Alamin, former president of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), said, “We will lose our competitiveness further in the world market due to price hike of natural gas.”
He said, the textile millers are the highest gas consumers in the country as they run spinning, weaving, dyeing and finishing units with a huge pressure of gas.
“The price of finished goods will increase because of the hike in gas tariff. But we will not get additional price from the buyers.”
Apart from manufacturing industries, the households’ still face gas crisis despite 300 million cubic feet of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) was added to the national grid. The situation hasn’t improved taking toll on the production.
An official of the Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company said though some 300 million cubic feet LNG has been added to the national grid in recent time, Titas is getting only 100 million cubic feet.
He said, gas crisis in Dhaka hasn’t improved though 100 million cubic feet of gas has been added. The crisis in winter has turned serious. Residents of many areas in Dhaka do not get gas from morning till night. As a result, they have to buy foods from restaurants.
There is a demand of 2200 million cubic feet gas in the city. But supply is 1600 million cubic feet. Consequently, only Dhaka city faces a shortage of 600 million cubic feet every day.
Of the total demand, there is a demand of 350 million cubic feet gas for households in capital Dhaka. But Titas supplies 280 million cubic feet. As a result, the city dwellers have to face gas shortage all the time. Farhan Noor, general secretary of Bangladesh CNG Filling Station Owners Association said CNG filling stations have to face gas shortage in winter.
He said they could use only 10 to 15 percent demand for gas in winter as most of time their station has to out of service.
Shamsul Alam, Energy Advisor of the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) said the distribution company is increasing gas connections without increasing the supply, which taking a toll on demand and supply. He also blamed Titas for its failure to prevent gas wastage and pilferage.
Experts have underscored the need for resolving the gas crisis for the industrial sector for attaining higher production as well as ensuring economic growth of the country.