Power sector of the country got top priority in the government’s proposed budget for the FY-2017-18 while energy sector was neglected in terms of budget allocation. The ample gap between budget allocations of these two closely related sectors may result in a complete failure to the government’s master plan regarding these sectors, said the power and energy expertd of the country.
According to the energy and power experts of the country, this disproportionate budget won’t help to manage enough primary fuel/energy sources for the energy starving nation; Bangladesh will have to depend on importing primary fuels from abroad.
The national budget for the fiscal year 2017-18 was proposed on Thursday. Finance Minister AMA Muhith proposed Tk211.18 billion (Tk 21,118 crore) for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry in the budget. Of the total Taka 21,118 crore, the finance minister proposed Taka 18,894 crore for the power division and Taka 2,224 crore for the energy and mineral resources division.
Prof. Ijaz Hossain, a prominent energy expert of the country sad that, the allotment for the country’s energy sector that was proposed in this national budget is just insufficient and it wouldn’t help the country to get rid of the country’s prevailing primary fuel/energy crisis. However, the country lacks adequate sources of primary fuels/energy sources which need to be addressed soon by the policy makers, otherwise, the problem would get worse. Power sector got prioritized and it’s good but the proposed budget lacks proper indications on that sector as well, he added.
Anu Mohammad, the member-secretary of the citizen’s movement platform called National Committee to Protect Oil-Gas-Mineral Resources-Power and Ports remarked that, budget allocation is raised in this year which is good for the sector. But, one thing the government should keep in mind that, the chances of corruption in these sectors are very high, he alerted. The trend of raising budget allocation in the sector is nothing new but, in reality, the countrymen are yet to get any benefit from it, he alleged. Yet, unceasing Load-shedding and the continuous hike in the price of gas and electricity has been adding burdens on the mass people for the past couple of years. He suggested the government keep low the prices of gas and electricity like daily commodities to lessen the prevailing sufferings of the public.
Another energy expert of the country BD Rahmatullah alleged that there is a lot of corruption seen in the power sector. High allocation in power sector didn’t bring much good for the sector as per the past experience. One reason behind the failure to utilize the allocated money properly is corruption and another one is a lack of proper planning and coordination. So, raising only the budget allocation can’t save the sector, proper planning and coordination along with justified monitoring system are needed. Besides, adjusting the budget allocation for the country’s energy and mineral resources with the power sector is a must as the gap between budget allocations for these two sectors is ample.