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Chief Representative's Speech

December 2, 2014

Inception Seminar for Power System Master Plan 2015

Honorable State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Nasrul Hamid,
Respected Secretary of Power Division, Mr. Monowar Islam,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and gentlemen.

Assalam alaikum and good afternoon.

It is indeed a great pleasure for me to attend the Inception Seminar for Power System Master Plan, or PSMP, 2015.

This year of 2014 is surely to be remembered by the people of Bangladesh and Japan as an epoch making year to step into a new dimension of the bilateral relationship. During the summit talk in Tokyo last May, the Prime Ministers H.E. Shinzo Abe and H.E. Sheikh Hasina agreed to further strengthen the bilateral cooperation through the "Japan-Bangladesh Comprehensive Partnership." Just four months later, the two Prime Ministers met again this time in Dhaka and agreed to pursue the bilateral economic cooperation under the initiative of "the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt," or BIG-B.

Let me explain a little bit about BIG-B. Bangladesh is located with embracing the Bay of Bengal from the sea point of view and in-between South Asia and South-East Asia from that of the land point. As we see, the current global economic power is shifting toward the region of Indo-Pacific Ocean. Accordingly, this geographical advantage will provide a unique opportunity for Bangladesh to play the role of "node and hub" for both intra- and inter-regional matters. The BIG-B initiative is aiming for accelerating industrial agglomeration along the Dhaka-Chittagong-Cox's Bazar belt area and beyond. BIG-B foresees Bangladesh transcending its national borders to become a heart of the regional economy and providing a gateway for both South Asia and South-East Asia to step into a closer interregional relation, so that she may reshape herself as a sparkling trading nation which is deeply incorporated into inter-regional and global value chains.

BIG-B consists of three pillars: developing economic infrastructure, improving investment environment and fostering connectivity. The power sector accounts for the major part of the first pillar. As a matter of fact, JICA has extended twenty-nine concessional loans totaling 300 billion Japanese Yen or roughly 20,000 crore taka at the current exchange rate during the last thirty-seven years. Our support for the power sector of Bangladesh has been quite comprehensive, ranging from power generation plants to a country-wide transmission grid, rural and urban distribution networks and off-grid renewable energy. On top of that, we have mobilized Japanese expertise and experiences for formulating the current PSMP-2010, for supporting SREDA to establish the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Master Plan and for introducing total quality management to public power entities.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As we all know, the primary energy for Bangladesh is now at a turning point. Bangladesh has to diversify its source of electric power and substantially increase its generation capacity to meet the surging demand for electricity which would be nearly doubled if the country grows six percent on average until 2020. Hence now is the time for Bangladesh to update the Power System Master Plan by examining the structural shift the sector is undergoing. The fundamental question is: Are we ready for supplying additional, say, 8,000MW in the next five years or 25,000MW in fifteen years amid the imminent crisis of domestically available energy? What would be the optimal energy mix in the long run and the scenario of transition in the meantime?

The PSMP-2015 is aimed to give clear and practical answers to those questions. Leaving the detailed explanation to the second session, I would like to highlight several main features. First of all, the PSMP-2015 will review the power-supply scenario in association with variable assumptions of primary-energy availability. It will cover, among others, appropriate way out of costly oil-based rental plants, realistic feed-in schedule of import-coal based power generation, prospects of halted domestic coal exploration and potentials of intra-regional energy cooperation.

Secondly, the master plan will examine how existing power plants could be operated and maintained more efficiently to augment the power supply. It is all the more imperative to gain benefit from more efficient O&M because the prospect for the short-term power supply would be revised downward from the previous projection.

Last but not least, the PSMP-2015 will for the first time shed a light on the "quality" of electricity. The more the power is supplied, the more complex the power system grows. The more industrialized the economy turns, the more reliable and quality electricity the power system is required to supply. The nationwide blackout on the 1st of November should be taken as a traumatic but timely wake-up call to warn us that a weak power system would jeopardize economic activities and thwart investment. The master plan will articulate necessary measures to enhance the reliability and quality of power supply.

We will collaborate with the Power Division for the next nine months to work out a holistic and practical master plan for optimal development of the power sector. We would highly appreciate active participation from every corner of the government, development partners, academia and private sectors in the course of brushing it up.

In conclusion, I would like to remind that Bangladesh needs to leap onto a higher-than six percent growth trajectory to become a middle-income country by 2021. At this critical juncture, I hope the PSMP-2015 will provide a springboard for such a leap as well as a cornerstone for the BIG-B initiative, paving the way for inclusive and dynamic development of Bangladesh for decades to come.

Shobaike Annek Donnobad. Thank you very much.

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