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Bangladesh pays addl $8bn import bills in 3 years

  • Special Correspondent
  • 9 August, 2023 12:00 AM
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Bangladesh pays addl $8bn import bills in 3 years

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Bangladesh paid an additional $8 billion import bills during the past three years as the global crisis persisted due to the Russia-Ukraine war and the prolonged Covid-19 impacts.

Prime Minister’s Energy Adviser Dr. Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury said this at a virtual webinar styled as “Energy Security of Bangladesh for Building ‘Sonar Bangla’:Bangabandhu’s Vision”. Bangladesh Energy Society (BES) organised the event.

“We have spent an additional $8 billion on import bills over the last three years because of the Russia-Ukraine war. Bangladesh becomes a victim of the war,” the energy adviser said.

“The government is working to explore new gas by drilling wells. This will help reduce the pressure of fuel imports,” he said.

The adviser informed that the government has no plan to explore coal through open pit mining considering the agriculture as well as aquifer management.

Besides, the government plans to produce around half of electricity from renewable energy, according to him.

Dr. Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury said the government would like to depend on a single country in a bid to overcome the energy crisis.

“For this, Bangladesh is producing electricity from multiple sources including solar, wind as well as nuclear energy,” he said.

Summit Group founding chairman Muhammed Aziz Khan attended the function as a special guest.

Energy expert Prof. M. Tamim, former Petrobangla chairman Prof. Hossain Monsur, energy consultant engineer Shaleq Sufi also attended the webinar.

Former principal secretary to Prime Minister Abul Kalam Azad delivered a welcome speech while former Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) member Maqbul-E-Elahi Chowdhury presented the keynote paper.

Muhammed Aziz Khan of Summit Group said, “Bangabandhu has a visionary plan to ensure the country's energy security. So, we have achieved 100 percent electricity coverage.”

“But, the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war led us to an energy crisis and inflation worldwide. Bangladesh is one of the worst sufferers of this,” he pointed out.

In the keynote paper, former BERC member Maqbul-E-Elahi Chowdhury suggested reviewing the suspended wells in Rashidpur and Kailastila to receive additional gas prospects.

He said the government would get rid of LNG imports from the spot market through stoppage of pilferage in the name of system loss.

He emphasised the need for a political decision to produce local coal resources.

Prof. M. Tamim suggested exploring oil, gas and coal from local sources to come out from the import dependency.

Prof. Hossain Monsur stressed the use of the country’s human resources for exploration of natural gas.