Speakers at a roundtable held Wednesday sought effective national policy to ensure good governance in power and water sector before formulating Integrated Energy and Power Master Plan (IEPMP).
"Modern policies are needed to protect the country's interests and environment and establish good governance in the power and energy sector. If that is done, the national interest will not be disturbed by whatever consultants are appointed, whether local or foreign," said Saber Hossain Chowdhury MP, president of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
He was addressing the roundtable conference titled "Challenges of good governance in coal and LNG power projects in Bangladesh" as chief guest arranged by Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) and Bangladesh Poribesh Andolan (Bapa).
Speakers at the event opined that weaknesses in legislation, policy frameworks and lack of transparency are harming both state and the public in the use of fossil fuels.
In the panel discussion, the speakers discussed conflict of interest in the power and energy sectors, adverse effects on the environment due to coal and LNG-based power plants, renewable energy etc.
Saber Hossain Chowdhury MP said IEPMP will be developed in light of the said national policy through which it will be possible to fill any shortfall or gap in the power and water sector.
"Moreover, as much as we are vocal about the climate in the international arena, we are not as active in protecting the environment within the country. But it is very important to ensure consistency here," he added.
Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) Chief Executive Syeda Rizwana Hasan said, "Foreign LNG-dependent power plants are being constructed without utilising the domestic capacity (natural gas). Which basically points to their business interests."
Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Research Director Dr Golam Moazzem said that an appropriate policy framework and its implementation are necessary for the power and energy sector.
Daffodil International University Dean Prof Dr Shamsul Alam said that the government should take initiative to control the 'dictatorship' of autonomous institutions' heads to establish good governance in those sectors.
TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said, "The proposed IEPMP should be formulated in an inclusive and participatory manner excluding those concerned with conflict of interest in the power and energy sector. Strategically, renewable energy should be given importance in the proposed IEPMP with a specific roadmap."