The World Bank's interference appears to delay the government's plan to set up some small plants in the private sector to reduce the gap between demand and production of power, reports UNB.
Power Ministry officials said the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a commercial lending wing of the World Bank (WB), is now insisting that the government involve it in the implementation process of small power plants (SPP) project.
The government has already floated the tender to set up 10 small power plants, each having 10-30 MW capacity, across the country.
Power Cell, a technical wing of the government, is now evaluating the qualification statements, submitted by the intending bidders for the project.
At this stage of the project, according to the sources, the IFC in a letter on February 16 urged the government to cancel the tender process and make a fresh start.
The IFC also proposed to the government to take its "advisory services" in implementing the project and for some other large base-load projects.
For the so-called advisory services, the donor agency will charge US$ 10,000 for each of the small power plants.
The Power Ministry officials said if the government entertains the IFC proposal, it will need to pay the donor agency about $2.0 million for the SPP project.
Besides, the government will have to cancel the SPP bidding procedures halfway and make a fresh start delaying the implementation of the project.
The Power Cell officials said they would complete the evaluation of qualification statements and seek full-fledged technical and financial proposals from the qualified bidders.
According to the sources, the Power Cell has already disagreed to the IFC proposal saying that they are capable enough to conduct the evaluation and other tender process.
The Power Cell cited its success in dealing with the earlier major base-load project like 360 MW Haripur and 450 MW Meghnaghat IPP project.
The IFC, the sources said, has also raised different questions about the SPP project and criticised the government for allowing only the local investors in the tender.
It said, "If the bids are limited to Bangladeshi firms, then the IDA funds could not be used for the SPP programme and guarantees would also not be available."
The IFC termed the domestic restrictions as against WTO regulations.
The Power Ministry officials termed the IFC's proposal as very irrational and unacceptable to them saying that it would only delay the SPP project.