Bangladeshi MPs press for action
Dhaka (Bangladesh): In a pre-budget meeting with the Bangladesh State Minister of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources this week, MPs from the Climate Parliament secured a Ministerial commitment to fast-track the establishment of the long-delayed Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority. In the meeting, the Bangladesh State Minister of Power, Mr Nasrul Hamid, stated that the executive order to establish the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) will be issued this week by the Bangladeshi Government, with the organisation expected to open in July 2014.
With the establishment of SREDA, the Climate Parliament Bangladesh Group of MPs will achieve a milestone in their efforts to develop renewable energy in the country. Having played a key role in passing the legislation which established the Authority in 2012, Climate Parliament MPs then challenged the government over delays to the implementation of the new law. It took more than a year of various parliamentary actions – including meetings with the Power Minister, Memorandums to the Finance Minister, interventions in the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy, and round-table discussions with government officials, experts and MPs – to secure a government commitment to making sure SREDA is established.
In the meeting, the Minister expressed his commitment to establish SREDA without further delay, and stated that the Climate Parliament should take the credit for driving the creation of the new agency. However, he also expressed the need to establish more contacts with the Ministry of Finance and Law, who are presently finalizing the budget and several rules for renewable energy and energy efficiency. It was emphasized that the rules proposed by the concerned government department for renewable energy and energy efficiency should be strengthened. The Power Minister also urged the Climate Parliament MPs to continue pursuing this issue with the Ministries of Finance and Law.
The Climate Parliament Bangladesh group of MPs also submitted a Memorandum to the Minister. The Memorandum was signed by MP Mr. Nahim Razzaq, convener of the Climate Parliament Bangladesh Steering Committee, and called upon the government to announce the establishment of SREDA and allocate adequate budgetary support for the nascent organisation. The memo also calls for the establishment of a Clean Energy Fund; the announcement of incentives for domestic RE manufacturers and suppliers; directives to Ministries catering to energy based services to promote renewable energy to deliver programmes effectively; indirect/direct tax incentives for private players to invest in RE; the announcement of a program to improve energy supply to small and medium scale industries through renewable energy; and channeling soft loans through private sector banks.
In the meeting, Mr. Mohammed Hossain, Director General, Powercell gave a status update on SREDA. Mr. Dilder Ahmed Taufiq, Senior Advisor, GIZ, spoke on the key inputs for budgetary allocation for SREDA. Ms Sumedha Basu, South Asia Policy Coordinator, Climate Parliament in her presentation dealt with the immediate and long-term challenges of SREDA, in the context of comprehensive renewable energy development in Bangladesh.
The Meeting also took note of the fact that the Bangladesh new renewable energy policy is in the process of finalization, in which several of the recommendations and suggestions given by the Climate Parliament MPs are also being included.