Nation this week
Anti-Corruption Commission Secretary Mahbub Hossain said that the banking sector is being deprived of foreign currency equivalent to approximately Tk 100 crore every day due to its illegal buying and selling. The ACC secretary gave this information to the journalists during a briefing. He said that the ACC has found evidence that some money exchangers including Janata, Sonali, Agrani, Mutual Trust, Pubali, Prabasi Kalyan, Jamuna Bank inside the airport area are involved in illegal buying and selling of foreign currency worth more than Tk 100 crore every day and money laundering.
He also said that after receiving information from intelligence sources and following a specific written complaint, an enforcement operation was conducted this week under the supervision of Deputy Director of the Commission Syed Nazrul Islam. After conducting the operation, an organised syndicate of banks and money exchangers involved in the black market of foreign currency was found.
Nepal has sent a tariff proposal to Bangladesh to export 40MW of electricity. According to a report of a Nepalese daily The Kathmandu Post, the tariff of per unit electricity (each kilowatt hour) is below Nepalese Rupee 10 (Tk 8.3). "We recently sent a tariff proposal to the Bangladesh side," the report quoted Pradeep Kumar Thike, deputy managing director (power trade) of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA). "The rate that we have proposed is approximately equivalent to the rate that we are charging India under a five-year power purchase agreement."
He, however, said he doesn't want to divulge the actual tariff the NEA has proposed. Earlier, Bangladesh's Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in a meeting on December 6 last year approved a proposal in principle to import the power from the Himalayan nation. On August 28 last year, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said that import of hydropower from Nepal was almost final.
The Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase (CCGP) in a meeting approved three separate proposals to import three LNG (liquified natural gas) cargoes from Singapore-based companies. Finance Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali presided over the meeting. As per the proposals, placed by Energy and Mineral Resources Division, state-owned Petrobangla will import two cargoes of LNG from Golbar Singapore Limited. Each LNG cargo, having 33.60 lakh MMBtu, will cost Tk 425.81 crore, with each unit at $9.847.
The third LNG cargo will be imported from Vitol Asia (pvt) Limited, Singapore, at a cost of Tk 422.48 crore with each unit at $9.770. All the three LNG cargoes will be imported from the international spot market through a limited bidding process under the Rapid Increase in Supply of Power and Energy (Special) Act 2010. Sources in the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry said that Bangladesh plans to import a total of 13 LNG cargoes from January to June this year.
International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) will provide $2.1 billion in loans to Bangladesh to facilitate the smooth import of petroleum fuel and LNG. Jedda-based ITFC and Energy and Mineral Resources Division of Bangladesh signed an agreement in this regard under Annual Financial Plan Negotiation for FY 2024-25 on Tuesday (Feb. 6) at the ministry. The ITFC is a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group. Stare Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid was present on the occasion.
Under the credit agreement, the IITFC will finance state-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) to import petroleum fuels and state-owned Petrobangla to import LNG. Energy and Mineral Resources Secretary Md Nurul Alam and chief operating officer and head of the ITFC delegation Nazeem Mooradali signed the agreement on behalf of the respective sides. Nasrul Hamid told reporters that $1.6 billion will be utilised to import the petroleum fuels while remaining $500 million will be used to import LNG.
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