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Govt accepts private power producers’ demands: Nasrul

Published : Sunday, 9 May, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 272
Special Correspondent

The government on Saturday has endorsed the demands of the private power producers for lowering income tax, reducing import duty on furnace oil, waiving advance income tax and removing complexities in stamp duty to ease their business.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid has made the remarks while speaking at a webinar titled: "Upcoming National Budget FY 2021-22: Expectation of Power Producers."
Forum for Energy Reporters Bangladesh (FERB) organised the online seminar with its chairman Arun Karmaker which was also addressed by State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid, Power Secretary Habibur Rahman, Power Cell Director General Mohammad Hossain, and President of Bangladesh Independent Power Producers Assertion (BIPPA) Imran Karim. BIPPA Vice President Mozammel Hossain made a presentation on the topic. At the webinar, Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) Chairman noted that still the government has to purchase electricity at a much higher rate from the private power producers and sell it to the consumers at lower rate that incurs a huge financial loss to the BPDB.
Not only these, the unplanned extension plan of these rental and quick rental has created a serious havoc on the state-owned BPDB's financial book, due to these plants it gives Tk 50,000 crore as capacity payment, (BPDB) Chairman Belayet Hossain told the webinar.
According to him the government had to provide Tk 7,000 to Tk 8,000 crore in the current fiscal as subsidy to fill the gap.  "Unfortunately, this gap will go up this year and the government has to provide increased subsidy," he said adding that there is indication that allocation for power sector may be decreased as the pandemic will change the norms and practices in budget allocation or subsidy as the government's focus is shifting to other sector.
Taking part in the discussion, Power Secretary Habibur Rahman once again assured the private players about their damand saying 'place your demands to the National Board of Revenue, we will look into the issue.'
It is fact that at the initial stage, rental and quick rental power plants were necessary and the government allowed the high cost low capacity-errant power plants on short-term basis.
"Now the owners of these plants are pursuing for long term agreement which cannot be acceptable in any case," said Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) Chairman Belayet Hossain.  
He observed that despite huge criticism from the public, the government allowed these high cost rental and quick rental power plants as remedy to the power crisis at that time.  "But these high cost power plants cannot operate beyond their short-term agreement period," he added.
The Power Division Power State Minister Nasrul Hamid said the BPDB has to be more efficient in power generation by retiring the inefficient power plants without showing any excuse.  BIPPA President Imran Karim said the private power producers have to face difficult times due to the increased import duty of furnace oil to 34 per cent and also for obligation on paying advance income tax. Mohammad Hossain said although the country's power generation capacity reached over 24,000 MW, still industries do not trust that the government can supply quality power.
"That's why 3,000 MW power is being generated by the captive power producers in the industrial sector", he added. Mozammel Hossain said private power producers are facing delay in getting their payments against the sale of electricity to the government.
He also alleged that private power producers are not getting environmental clearance certificates before commissioning of their power plants.

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