Sector of Bangladesh
An essential precondition for industrial development
is uninterrupted supply of energy. Although the
installed capacity for generation of electricity
in the country is 2908 megawatt, the actual production
does not exceed 2160 megawatt as against the peak
demand of 2200 megawatt. The average level of system
loss is still as high as 33.3%. The demand for power
will increase by 300 MW annually and an investment
of about Tk 110 billion up to the turn of the century
will be needed to meet it.
The government has embarked on a well-planned policy
to generate more energy through higher public and
private investment, reduce system loss to the minimum
and harness natural gas, solar power, atomic power
and hydroelectric resources. As per private sector
power generation policy formulated by the govt.
in October 1996, three barge-mounted power generating
units with capacity of 100 MW each would be set
up by private sector enterpreneurs at Khulna, Haripur
and Shikalbaha. Other power projects in the pipeline
at Meghnaghat, Haripur, Mymensingh and Baghabari
will help Bangladesh attain self-sufficiency in
power generation in near future.
The private power generation policy offers attractive
incentives including tax holidays for 15 years and
one-win-dow service. The reserve of recoverable
natural gas has been estimated at 12.4 trillion
cubic feet. After years of commercial exploitation,
a reserve of 9.8 trillion cubic feet is still available.
Production-sharing contracts have been signed with
local and foreign firms for oil and gas exploration
in 8 blocs out of a total 23 in the country.
Currently about 88 percent of power generation is
based on natural gas. About 55% of the country's
energy supply is based on traditional fuels (crop
residues, animal dung and fuel wood), 24% on natural
gas, 19% on imported oil and coal and the remaining
2% is hydroelectricity. Natural gas has also contributed
to the rapid growth of the chemical fertilizer industry.
The recent discovery of sizable coal deposits in
the northwestern part of the country is of significance.
Agreements have been signed with some Chinese companies
for their extraction. A coal-based power plant is
also proposed to be set up in the area. Abundant
supply of coal at home will greatly reduce pressure
on imported oil.
Measures are being implemented to take modernized
transportation and telecommunication systems right
up to the village level. The government has given
highest priority to speedy construction of the multi-billion
dollar Jamuna bridge which has remained a national
dream. When completed by the middle of 1998 with
the assistance of the World Bank, the Asian Development
Bank and Japan the bridge over the mighty Jamuna
will connect the northern areas with the rest of
the country for direct road and rail communication
and gas and power transmission. This will provide
a big boost to the growth of trade and commerce
between different regions of the country. Several
other major bridge are being considered to prepare
Bangladesh for the Asian highway.
The Telecommunication sector has been opened up
by the govt. for private sector investment. Two
private companies have been given permission to
set up digital telephone exchanges at thana level.
A particular company enjoyed monopoly in cellular
telephone business during the rule of previous regime.
By breaking this monopoly, four companies have been
granted license for providing cellular telephone