Discussions on major national concerns like power, fuel, gas prices, etc held at regular intervals can help unveil path-breaking solutions to persistent outstanding issues and dispel doubts from the minds of the people through regular exchange of ideas and views amongst the relevant stakeholders, policymakers, technocrats and the media. The government’s plan not to give new power connections to industries set up in unplanned areas is very relevant and is designed to discourage haphazard growth of industries all over the country. Similarly the same is applicable for connections to private residences in unplanned areas too.
The production of electricity in the country has quadrupled in the last decade. We still shudder at the memory of countless hours of load-shedding every day prior to the Sheikh Hasina-government taking urgent steps to solve the massive power shortage and bringing relief from constant power cuts to the people. The sagacious decision to produce more electricity immediately not only saved the economy from imminent collapse but also helped the country to reach the developing status from the least developed.Strategic long-term planning for the power sector is vital for sustainable economic growth as cost of power affects the cost of production thereby increasing the price of all goods and services produced. If production cost rises it will definitely affect our status as a low cost producer in the world market as well as increase the cost of living in the country. High price of oil and gas has already raised the power tariffs for both residential and industrial usages. Any further increase could be self-defeating for the economy.
Fuel, gas and power are the primary inputs in almost all major economic activities. As the government could achieve the impossible in the power sector once, we are hopeful that our perceptive leadership will be able to find means by which the cost of producing electricity can be brought down in the greater interest of economic growth. Reducing the dependence on fuel- and gas-based power production to diversifying into more rational and economic power production is required for a nascent economy like Bangladesh to compete in the global economy.