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Business leaders and experts iterate call for gas, power supply

Industries minister Amir Hossain Amu, energy adviser to prime minister Toufiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury and Bangladesh Chamber of Industries president AK Azad are seen, among others, at a discussion organised by the industries ministry and the BCI at the Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka on Thursday. / Photo: New Age

Industries minister Amir Hossain Amu, energy adviser to prime minister Toufiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury and Bangladesh Chamber of Industries president AK Azad are seen, among others, at a discussion organised by the industries ministry and the BCI at the Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka on Thursday. / Photo: New Age

Business leaders and experts on Thursday (10 April 2014)  reiterated their demand to the government for uninterrupted supply of gas and electricity to private sector for ensuring the country’s industrialisation in the coming decade.

At a discussion meeting on strategies for industrialisation in the next decade, they also demanded for ensuring quality of energy and power supply for rapid growth in the industry sector.

Along with uninterrupted power supply, adequate infrastructure and policy support, political stability is the most important precondition for industrialsiation, they pointed out.

Industries ministry and Bangladesh Chamber of Industries jointly organised the meeting at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka.

‘Entrepreneurs cannot run their factories due to shortage of gas and electricity. They are operating their boiler buying gas from CNG stations which increases the cost of production,’ BCI president AK Azad said.

The government will have to manage alternative source of power and energy, including coal-based power generation, and set up LNG terminal for the sake of industrialisation and growth in the economy, he said.

Energy adviser to prime minister Toufiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury said that the government had taken some steps including gas and electricity import from neighboring Myanmar and India and importing LNG from Qatar to resolve the crisis.

‘India is extracting gas in Myanmar and the government is discussing with India to allow the country to take gas through Bangladesh in exchange of providing a portion of the gas to us,’ he said.

The government is also trying to get gas from Myanmar, he said.

‘We are also discussing with India to allow the country for transporting hydro-electricity to its mainland from north-eastern states through Bangladesh in exchange of supplying electricity to us,’ he said.

Industries minister Amir Hossain Amu assured business leaders to provide all kinds of assistance for protecting local industries.

He requested the businessmen for diversifying export items in order to keep momentum in export growth.

Centre for Policy Dialogue additional research director KG Moazzem said that ensuring gas and electricity supply would not be enough in future.
‘The government will have to ensure the quality of energy, uninterrupted and low cost supply,’ he said.

In his key-note paper, Moazzem said that investors would have to establish industries for fulfilling the demand of domestic market along with export market as a huge number of consumers have emerged in the country over the last few years.

Transforming the current low-tech and medium-tech industries into high-tech ones and creating high-skilled manpower will be the major challenges in industrialisation in future, he said.

International Chamber of Commerce, Bangladesh, president Mahbubur Rahman said that industrialisation would not be possible without political stability.

Former vice president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry Abul Kashem Ahmed said that the government would have to ensure uninterrupted gas and electricity supply if it wanted to achieve projected higher economic growth.

Youth Entrepreneurs Association president Nizam Uddin Chowdhury said that they could not expand their businesses due to shortage of gas and electricity.

FBCCI first vice president Monowar Hakim Ali, vice president Helal Uddin, former vice president Abul Kashem Ahmed, former BCI president Shahedul Islam Helal, Bangladesh Indenting Agents Association president KMH Shahidul Haque, FBCCI adviser Manzur Ahmed, Bangladesh Insurance Association president Sheikh Kabir Hossain, Bangladesh Cold Storage Association president Jasim Uddin and industries ministry additional secretary Md Farhad Ahmed, among others, spoke at the meeting.

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Source: New Age

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