The future of the government's latest initiative to generate 600 mega-watt (MW) of
electricity through the installation of small power plants (SPPs) by private entrepreneurs
now appears to be bleak. The move is now caught up in political quagmire.
Sources said within two months of formulating guideline for the SPPs, the Expression of
Interests (EoIs) submitted by the private entrepreneurs have been cancelled and the
number of SPPs raised because of mounting pressure from ruling party stalwarts and
Members of Parliament (MPs).
Some new terms and conditions, favourable to political lobbyists, have also been
incorporated for submission with the EoIs. The EoIs are now to be submitted by the
interested entrepreneurs within October 19 next.
The changes in terms and conditions for the installation of the SPPs were decided at a
meeting held recently in the Power Division under the Ministry of Power, Energy and
Mineral Resources (MPEMR). Newspaper advertisements were also published regarding
the latest step, said sources.
In line with the initial plan to install 23 SPPs the interested private entrepreneurs
submitted EoIs within the stipulated timeframe of August 31 last.
Sources said in the case of the installation of proposed SPPs, neither open tender policy
nor the latest Procurement Guideline-2003 are likely to be followed.
Following incessant pressure from the ruling party stalwarts including some ministers,
and at least 100 MPs, the Power Division had to cancel the EoIs submitted earlier. It
seems, everybody wants to instal a SPP, sources said.
The authorities had to even abandon a 'political list' of SPP installations as the number of
interested parties far exceeded the requirement.
Sources said the inclusion of some new terms and conditions in the EoIs has been
primarily aimed at discouraging real entrepreneurs and facilitating the entry of political
According to the latest development, out of 49 SPPs, 34 will be installed within the
operational jurisdiction of the Power Development Board (PDB), 12 within the same of
the Rural Electrification Board (REB), two in Dhaka Electric Supply Company (DESCO)
and one in Dhaka Electric Supply Authority (DESA) areas.
The new terms and conditions incorporated in the EoIs include confirmation letter from
the contractor specifying the date on which the SPP would start commercial operation,
bank clearance guaranteeing the capacity of the contractor concerned to provide equity
share of the project expenditure, confirmation letter from bank or lending authority and
detailed report on project implementation.