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Unsolicited contract

3-yr extension for Speedy Power Supply Act

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Anisul Islam Noor :
The government has initiated to extent Speedy Supply of Power and Energy (Special Provisions) Act 2010 for further three years to award contracts without tender until 2021, ministry officials said.
The high ups policy makers of the government in principle approved the extension proposal. A notice to extent the existing act will be issued soon, they said.
A senior official of the Power Division told The New Nation that10 power plants in private sector were approved recently. Besides, the expansion of the old rental and quick rental power plants has also been approved. The process of importing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) under the law is underway.
In this situation, uninterrupted power and fuel supply are likely to be bogged if the law expires. In view of this, a policy decision has been taken to extend it.
Enacted in October 12, 2010 for two years, the law was first extended by two years until October 11, 2014 and by four years until October 11, 2018, they said.
Director General of Power Cell Engineer Mohammad Hossain told reporters on Monday that the ministry would seek the three-year extension to facilitate emergency procurement of goods and services for power and energy sector.
It is a legal support for facilitating purchases in situations as worse as power cuts, he said.
The officials said that the proposal would require Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's approval, as she holds the portfolio of Power and Energy Ministry, to be placed before the cabinet before being tabled in Parliament.
Asked if the act would be enforced permanently or be incorporated into the Public Procurement Rules for power and energy sector, he said that there was no such scope and the act would be amended time-to-time.
Consumers Association of Bangladesh Energy Adviser M Shamsul Alam said that the law was in force only to encourage and facilitate dishonest businesses in the country's energy sector.
Many projects have been awarded and many would be awarded to the favoured ones using the act pushing the energy sector to disaster, he said, adding that the government had no plan to create a fair and competitive business environment in the sector.
National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports Member-Secretary Anu Muhammad, also an economist, said that the law was protecting corrupt officials and policymakers.
He said that the government had explored expensive ways instead of cheaper ones in solving the crisis in the energy sector using the act since 2010.
"The extension of the law carries only one message that the government is planning to continue the irregularities," he said.
The power cell director general, however, said that the act won't be used on a large scale.
On October 12, 2010, the government enacted the act for two years for 'quick disposal' of contracts in power and energy sector to meet the demand for power and energy in a short time.
Utilities under the power and energy divisions have so far awarded numerous contracts bypassing tenders under the act drawing severe criticism as the procurements were much expensive than those awarded through competitive bidding.
Among the projects, 35 contracts signed by the state-run Power Development Board to buy power from 15 quick rental, 5 rental and 15 independent power suppliers from 37 plants with a combined generation capacity of about 3000MW for 3-15 years. Most of the quick rental and rental power suppliers obtained extensions for 3-8 years under the act.
In 2017, the Power Board again awarded 11 contracts for buying pricy electricity from private sector power plants with about 2000MW combined capacity for 5-15 years.
Contracts for installation and operation of two floating storage and re-gasification terminals under construction at Moheshkhali Island in Cox's Bazar to facilitate import of liquefied natural gas and supply gas after re-gasification were also awarded under the act.
Contracts for supplying 500 million cubic feet of gas from imported LNG and installation and operation of a 726MW power plant to be set up by India's Reliance in Bangladesh were awarded without bidding.
Four other projects were also awarded for LNG storage and re-gasification service from floating and land-based terminals bypassing tenders.
In the same way, India's Adani bagged a contract to supply electricity to Bangladesh from a 1600MW plant to be installed in Jharkhand.
A number of big projects related to installation of gas pipelines and compressors were also awarded bypassing tenders.

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