The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has voiced concern over the current power crisis and is expected to provide US$500 million fresh loan for power sector.
"It (power crisis) is a matter of urgency," its Country Director Hua Du said Tuesday, underpinning the need for immediate programme to help overcome the crisis.
"We're in the middle of processing a major power project involving US$500 million. The project is aimed at enhancing the country's power generation," Du told the FE in an interview.
The ADB's assistance would be channelled into the second phase of the Power Sector Development Project, she added.
Head of the Energy Division of its local mission Shamsuddin Ahmed supplemented, saying the Manila-based development lender remains deeply concerned about the power crisis.
"Of course, we're concerned about the power crisis, as our investment in the power sector is more than US$ 1 billion".
The remarks of the ADB officials reflect the donor agency's concern over the nagging problem and call for the attention of the government to improve the situation.
As the power generation remains pitifully low and the government agency is scrambling to meet the growing demand, the multilateral agency plans to dole out additional aid for the power sector.
"We're considering providing additional assistance for Bangladesh to help the country improve its power supply situation," she disclosed.
The Power Development Board (PDB) could supply nearly 2800-3000 MW to the national grid against a conservative demand of 3900 MW a day throughout the country causing severe load shedding in recent weeks. The total load shedding has hit an all-time high this week, with the figures reaching at 1200 MW.
The frequent power outage has exacerbated the lives of the people living in both rural and urban areas. Besides, the production in hundreds of industrial units across the country has almost grinded to a halt due to frequent electricity shortage.
The ADB is also pressing the government hard for reining in the colossal graft in the public procurement in the power sector.
"We're now discussing with the government officials on the public procurement in the power sector, too. We think, the process should be made more transparent," Hua Du said.
The cabinet recently approved the Public Procurement Law 2005, amid mounting pressure from the World Bank.
During his visit to Bangladesh last year, WB's President Paul Wolfowitz said lavish election expenditure comes from corruption in big infrastructure projects, with the power sector becoming "a tempting target".
A World Bank report said erratic power supply cost the country's economy $1 billion a year, retarding the growth in the industrial sector.
Meantime, a high-powered ADB mission is now in the city to discuss with the government officials on the Bank's forthcoming project in the power sector.
ADB officials said the negotiations for the proposed mega project is likely to conclude sometime in April next.