Garment and textile manufacturers have expressed dissatisfaction over the inadequate supply of electricity and gas in the industrial hubs of Gazipur, Narayanganj and Savar.
Key people from the textile and RMG industries burst out before the Prime Minister's Energy Adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury and State Minister for Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid at a workshop in the capital on Saturday, said sources in the workshop.
Representatives from the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) were present at the workshop.
"We raised our issues and discussed them in detail. They took it seriously and agreed to form a joint committee within a month," Asif Ibrahim, a director of BGMEA, told The Business Standard.
The decision comes in the face of repeated demands, and the government is finally going to form a special committee to ensure an uninterrupted power and gas supply to industries, including garment factories.
Nasrul Hamid made the announcement after the workshop, organised by the Bangladesh Energy and Power Research Council (BEPRC).
"Factories are not getting an adequate supply of electricity and gas, even though we can produce the required power," the state minister added.
Despite the availability of expensive LNG, the average gas supply can only meet 30 percent of the factories' demand between 9am to 1pm every day, which eventually keeps their boiler inoperative.
An uninterrupted electricity supply is also a far cry at these factories despite the fact that the country is struggling with a surplus of electricity at the generation end.
The factories in Savar, Gazipur, and Narayanganj still face 8 to 45 hours of load shedding every month while the average yearly load-shedding is 292 to 438 hours.
Investors demand a solution to the crises in order to maintain economic growth in the country.
Currently, the country can generate 22,329 megawatts of electricity (including captive power) against a maximum demand of 13,000megawatts per day.
Industries, including textile and RMG, consume 29.54 percent while domestic consumption is 53.31 percent of the total generation.
However, due to frequent load shedding, industries have been turning away from grid electricity to captive power.
In 2010, industries used to consume 37 percent of the total national electricity, but that has now declined to 29.54 percent.
Old and weak transmission and distribution lines are prime causes for the interrupted supply, said power utility companies.
Industries are also not getting an adequate supply of gas to run the factories despite the import of 1,000mmcf LNG per day from the Middle East to minimise the gap between demand and supply.
At present, the country has a demand for 4,000mmcf gas per day while only 3,000mmcf gas is being supplied to different sectors.
However, Nasrul Hamid said a committee will be formed within a month to find possible solutions to these issues.
Representatives from various industries said that poor supply is not the only problem, they also have to wait a long time to get new electricity and gas supply connections.
They also demanded that the gas price be fixed on a long-term projection so that investors can plan for a long period.
Prime Minister's Energy Adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury addressed the programme as chief guest.
He said, "The committee will identify the problems and solve them step by step. There is no alternative to uninterrupted energy supply in industries if we want to expedite economic growth."
Among others, Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, Senior Secretary of the Power Division, and Subir Kishore Choudhury, chairman of BEPRC, were present at the workshop.