PM for rental power plants to meet growing demand

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday in Parliament said there was no other option in her hand but to go for quick rental power plants for meeting the growing demand of electricity in the country.

“People should pay the production price for electricity,” she said in her wrapping up speech on the budget discussion, and urged the people to practice austerity to reduce their electricity bill when the price is high.

“Why the government will provide power at subsidy price?” Hasina questioned, saying that the price of electricity is lower in Bangladesh considering many countries across the world.

She mentioned that from some quarters, there are wide allegations about the government’s move to allow rental power plants for power generation.

“If we had not gone for the rental power plants, how we could give connection to more than 25 lakh new subscribers,” she said.

The Prime Minister mentioned that people thought that the newly generated power will be given to the already existing subscribers. “I’m sorry to say we won’t give more and more to those who already have more. It is the policy of Awami League to give to those who have nothing,” she said.

Hasina said that due to the various programmes undertaken by the government, the living standard of common people has improved.

She mentioned that in the last three years, some 11.25 lakh refrigerators, 19 lakh airconditioners and one lakh ovens were sold. “For this, power use has increased by 440 MW,” she said adding that the per capita power usage has also increased.

The Prime Minister said that 53 percent of the country’s population is now under electricity coverage. The government has been able to reduce the system loss for the power and it is now 11 percent.

She said that the present government has repaired seven old power plants. “If the previous governments had repaired those in time, the situation could have better now.”

About the 7.2 percent target of GDP growth, Hasina said she sincerely believes that achieving this growth is not an impossible task. “Considering all economic trends and indexes we can say we’ll be able to touch the target.”

About the allegation that the budget for next fiscal is highly ambitious, she said: “Yes, we’ve high ambition, to make the country a poverty-free ‘Sonar Bangla’.”

On the budget deficit, she said that during the previous BNP-Jamaat alliance government, the budget deficit was 5.17 percent, under the caretaker government it was 5.25 percent and in the proposed budget for the next fiscal the deficit is 5 percent.

“Five percent budget deficit is not a big issue and there is no scope to make huge noise for this,” the Prime Minister said adding that the budget deficit in the USA is 8.9 percent.

She said that if a project taken by one government is continued by another government, the country can advance a lot. “Problems will not arise if different governments do their own duties.”

But, she said the BNP-Jamaat government during their tenure did not perform their duties properly. “They just did everything for their own interest.”

Criticizing the BNP chairperson’s budget proposal, Hasina said: “She did not come to the parliament. She placed her budget thoughts in a five-star hotel. The pain of losing power was more (for her) than the budget thoughts.”

She said that the government wanted to improve the lot of the rural people and informed that the number of middle income people increased in the country.

The Prime Minister said that the present government always put the highest importance on the agriculture sector and farmers. “We are gradually increasing our food grains production.”

She said that the country should be self-reliant and for that all will have to pay taxes except the President.

Hasina said that the government provided various facilities for the development of the garments industries, but “there is conspiracy against this sector.”

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