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Power, gas crunch takes a heavy toll on industry

Published : 18 Oct 2022 09:08 PM

Production in the industrial sector is being disrupted due to electricity and gas shortages. 

Industries have started to suffer as a result of the energy crisis. Mainly the industries which require more gas and electricity - steel, fertilizers and ceramics are the most affected. 

Due to frequent power outages and low gas pressure, some industries are trying to cope with the crisis by using alternative energy sources, but this is insufficient compared to the requirement. Industry owners said that production in various sectors including ready-made clothes, ceramics has decreased by 20 percent to 60 percent.

Large industries consume 56 percent of the country’s electricity and fuel. But now they are suffering from a severe gas shortage. Industrial owners said that gas pressure is low in factories during the day. There is no electricity for three hours to four hours. As a result, they claim that production in the garment sector has decreased by 20 percent to 60 percent.

Industrial owners said that the production loss in the ceramic sector exceeded 20 percent. There is no assurance from the government to resolve the crisis quickly. If the situation prolongs further, they fear a 10 to 30 percent cost increase due to self-generated electricity to meet the shortfall in power supply.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association President (BGMEA) Faruque Hassan said, “Our crisis has already started since September. This month our target will be reduced further. Last month there was a negative growth of 7 percent. Apart from this, due to the shortage of electricity and gas, we are not able to produce as much as we were supposed to. If this continues, we cannot survive in the global market.” 

Stating that there is a total investment of more than Tk 5,500 crore in 30 ceramic factories of the country, an industry insider said that if the production cost increases in this situation, the industry will be in uncertainty for a long time. The country’s largest tile producer, Great Wall Ceramic Industries Ltd, has drastically reduced production due to low gas pressure. 

Currently, the country’s peak gas demand is around 3,600 MMCF per day, while the supply is only 2,675 MMCF. As a result, all consumers, including power plants and industries, suffer from low pressure in pipelines due to low supply. 

However, the power crisis is not going to be solved easily. Another three to four months people have to be patient. Prime Minister’s electricity and energy advisor Dr. Taufiq-e-Ilahi Chowdhury said these things on Sunday. He said, “If we could buy fuel then everyone would get 24 hours electricity. We have a lot of capacity, but we can’t utilize it because of fuel shortage.” 

Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) Executive Committee Executive President Mohammad Hatem said, “Load shedding can be managed for a couple of hours, but the gas crisis cannot be managed. As a result, our production is greatly disrupted. Exports are suffering and shipment is being disrupted. Along with this, the opportunity that was created for the businessmen of Bangladesh to increase their business is being lost due to these reasons.”