Tawfiq asks to utilise idle funds to improve energy efficiency

Staff Correspondent

5 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Prime Minister's Energy Adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury has directed Infrastructure Development Company (IDCOL) to provide loan from its idle money of Tk 20-30 billion to promote energy efficiency.  

"IDCOL should disburse the finance through setting up branches across the country which will cut its financing cost by 2-3 percent," he said while addressing a webinar on energy efficiency on Thursday.

"This will motivate the private companies to take loan and show more interest in energy efficiency," said the PM’s Energy Adviser.

He came up with the suggestions at the dialogue titled: "Industrial Energy Efficiency” jointly organised by IDCOL and Energy and Power magazine.

Speaking as the chief guest, Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury said, "Setting up dedicated branches by other banks across the country can be another option if IDCOL fails to set up its branches."

The amount of loans for small medium enterprises needs to be increased to bring them under the energy efficiency movement, said Dr Tawfiq, adding that the agriculture sector is flourishing as an industry because a lot of equipment is coming to make this sector more productive.

Dr Tawfiq also emphasised on bringing this sector under the best practice to make the irrigation equipment more useful and affordable.

 "We ought to consider giving best energy saver prize with the view to encouraging others to participate in such a great initiative," he suggested.

Former Principal Secretary to Prime Ministers Office (PMO) Abul Kalam Azad said much funds are ready for the green industry and industrialists are working on that line.

In order to actively promote energy efficiency, Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority's (SREDA) audit should speed up, he said, adding, "Testing laboratory should go at the regional level to ensure standard of energy."

He also suggested starting with the latest technology since the initiatives have begun late.

Power Secretary Md Habibur Rahman said, "If we want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we need to ensure the use of renewable energy and economical use of energy."

He also shed light on four challenges--- reducing additional cost to help install energy efficient equipment, offering government incentives, formulating policies for existing equipment and spreading knowledge on energy efficiency.

Arranging soft loan facility, promoting tax benefit for energy efficient projects, imposing high tariff on inefficient machinery and implementing awareness initiatives, will help overcome the challenges, he added.

Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) Chairman Md Abdul Jalil said that metering plays the most important role in measuring energy efficiency progress.

"EPC metering along with the equipment testing lab have become essential to ensuring energy efficiency," he added.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association President Rubana Haque said that technology upgradation refers to green financing and we need to take effective steps to work on the green finance."

"BGMEA is looking forward to signing an agreement with SREDA in order to promote green financing initiative," she added.

IDCOL Executive Director and CEO Mahmood Malik said the use of affordable equipment should be increased by 30 percent by 2030.

"We have a fund of 20-30 billion available and we offer our funds at fixed rates, which may not be available from banks," he added.

At present, IDCOL charges 5-6 percent interest on loans taken for 10 to 12 years and 1.75 per cent interest against loan taken for 20 years, he said, adding, "Stakeholders can take loan for the maximum rate of 5- 5.50 per cent when taken through a bank."