Originally published in Prothom Alo English on 20 May 2023
State minister for power, energy and mineral resources Nasrul Hamid has urged the businessmen to stop the use of illegal gas connections, reports UNB.
“Whenever we visit a factory, we find that if there is a legal gas connection, there are three more illegal connections bypassing the main one”, he told a seminar at Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) where a good number of leading entrepreneurs representing different sectors including textile and readymade garments were present.
“Please stop these illegal gas connections. Your illegal connections actually deprive other industries of getting their right to using gas”, he told the businessmen.
He also said, “I don’t want to publish the list of those industries. The names of many large and leading industries are there. They are very much influential.”
The DCCI organised a seminar titled: “Stakeholders’ Dialogue on Energy Strategy: Towards a Predictable Future”.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president Faruque Hasan, energy expert and Dhaka University professor Badrul Imam, former FBCCI president Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, Summit Power director Faisal Karim Khan, Pran RFL Group chairman Ahsan Khan Chowdhury, and Foreign Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) president Naser Ezaz Bijoy spoke on the occasion.
Making a presentation on the current scenario and the government’s future plan, Nasrul said the government is planning to build a land-based LNG terminal at the Matarbari deep sea port within 4 years at a cost of $4 billion.
“It will help ensure energy security, especially in the import of gas from abroad. If this land-based terminal is built, there will be no need to remove the terminal to the deep sea during any storm,” he said.
Secondly, large ships will be able to arrive in the port with 18 meter water depth which will reduce the transportation cost, he added.
The seminar witnessed a debate between the state minister and professor Badrul Imam on the issue of gas exploration across the country for finding more gas.
Nasrul said that he is confused whether there is no gas in the country or any more gas in the country.
Responding to this remarks, Badul Imam said there is nothing to be confused with availability of gas in the country as many international research groups including USGS proved their scientific research and data that still the country has a reserve of between 32 and 42 Trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) of gas.
“Recent finding of gas in Bhola also proves the presence of more gas in the country,”said Imam.
Nasrul Hamid also said that the government will not allow industries to be developed without any specific industrial zone to ensure the planned supply of gas and electricity.
He said that the government will allow the private sector to come into the energy business so that any enterprise can import gas and supply to any industry with its own choice at their negotiated rate.
He reiterated the government plan to set the prices of power, gas and petroleum fuels on the basis of international market price.
“We’re working on it to come out of the current trend of subsidy provision for the energy sector,” he said.
He, however, said there is no plan of the government to raise gas or power prices before the coming budget.
FICCI president Naser Ezaz Bijoy said transparency is needed to fix the energy prices.
Former DCCI president Sabur Khan said the illegal gas consumers should be brought under law.
DCCI president Md Sameer Sattar conducted the seminar.