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Fiscal Year 2017-18

Gas price to undoubtedly increase after import of LNG: Muhith

Power, energy receive Tk 21,118cr

01 Jun 2017, 14:55 | updated: 01 Jun 2017, 17:23

NTV Online

Parliament: The power and energy sector has received a total of Tk 21,118 crore in the coming fiscal year of 2017-18, up by 6,082 crore than the outgoing financial year's allocation of Tk 15,036 crore.

Of the amount, the Power Division has got Tk 18,894 crore in 2017-18 FY against 13,063 crore in 2016-17 while the Energy Division Tk 2,224 crore against Tk 1973 crore.

Announcing the allocation, Finance Minister AMA Muhith in his budget speech in Parliament said the government has planned to install 42 more power plants with a capacity of 11,124 MW while 33 more having a capacity of 11,214 are under construction.

Dropping a hint of further increasing the gas price, he said people are debating the issue of increasing gas prices. Gas will be purchased at international prices when its import begins in 2018.

"The current rate of taxes levied on gas, therefore, has to be rationalised. Consequently, the unit price of gas will undoubtedly increase. The gas price, however, will be adjusted following the policy of subsidising," Muhith added.

He said under a long-term master plan, the government will continue efforts to install coal-based power plants in Rampal, Matarbari and Payra while encourage installation of power plants in private sector.

Besides, he said, the government has taken initiatives to install four power plants in Moheshkhali with financial support of Malaysia, South Korea and Singapore. "In order to sustain the current level of power generation capacity, BMRE of the existing gas-based power plants will continue as well," he said.

He continued, "Side by side, we'll carry on implementing our plan for importing power from Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and the North-Eastern part of India under sub-regional cooperation."

The Finance Minister said dependence on rental power plants will gradually be reduced from 2018 onwards when a comfortable power supply situation can be ensured.

He said 80 percent population of the country has been brought under the electricity coverage. "I firmly believe that the rest 20 percent will be brought under electricity coverage ahead of 2021."

Muhith underscored the need for ensuring efficient use of power and conservation of energy by reducing wasteful behaviours in industry, trade and household sectors.

"For this reason, we've set targets to reduce the use of fuel by 15 percent by 2021 and 20 percent by 2030. To achieve this target, we've taken initiatives to prepare 'Energy Efficiency and Conservation Master Plan'."

About the energy sector, the Finance Minister said the government will carry on its initiatives to increase electricity generation capacity by supplying LNG to power plants which were closed down for lack of gas supply. "We're expecting to import LNG and supply gas by 2018."

He said the government has taken initiatives to augment gas production by expediting the ongoing exploration activities.

The scope of gas exploration in deep and shallow sea has widened after the settlement of international maritime boundary disputes with India and Myanmar. "Seizing this opportunity, the government is working to enhance exploration and production of gas under a long-term plan."

BAPEX plans to dig 108 wells by 2021, he said, adding that with completion of digging and commencement of gas production from them as planned, the gas supply situation will improve.