No more justification for maintaining the special law on energy supply and energy


09 September 2021, 22:40

Last modification: September 09, 2021, 10:52 PM

Dr Mohammad Tamim, energy expert and professor of Buet

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Dr Mohammad Tamim, energy expert and professor of Buet

The Cabinet again approved a proposal to extend the Rapidly Improving Electricity and Energy Supply (Special Provision) Act 2010 for a further five-year period until 2026.

The law was formulated and promulgated for the first time in 2010 for a period of two years in order to facilitate the realization of short-term projects because the country was suffering massively from power cuts at that time.

But there is no more reason or justification for having such a law because the main reason for the law no longer exists. So, I don’t know why the Power Division requested this extension for another five years.

In fact, we could have avoided this law by 2012-13 when the country had achieved a good situation in electricity production and supply. But it has been extended over and over again since then.

Different parties and companies continually tried to take ownership of a project because they received a government purchase guarantee. The projects were awarded without considering whether electricity is needed or not. Therefore, I would say that some plants were allocated unnecessarily.

The main reason for the passage of the law in 2010 was the rapid commissioning of power plants – if I need a power plant immediately and go through the regular tendering process, a few months will elapse to complete the process.

Generally, two months are necessary to process an offer, including a minimum of 21 days for the submission of offers. Then there are the other steps – evaluating bids, selecting bidders, and obtaining government approval – which also take months.

Projects awarded under this Act are expected to provide production within three months of issuance of the Letter of Intent (LOI). In the event of a delay, the entire process could be extended for a maximum of three to six months.

But when we have enough time, we should put out a regular tender for a project.

Why would I award a project that normally takes three to five years to complete by some unsolicited method or under special law?

What are the reasons and the rationale for awarding such projects through an unsolicited method? Why not spend six months looking for the best price for a project that I accept three and four years later?

While “unsolicited” does not mean that there are anomalies or corruption in the process, questions will always arise.

My question is: why will the government be in a questionable process?

Instead, while taking on development projects now, the government should prioritize transparency which can be compromised in an emergency.

Editor: Energy Expert and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.


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