Burma cancels export electricity to Bangladesh

Burma has declined to export electricity to Bangladesh because Burma has no capacity to export electricity to Bangladesh right now as the country has also been suffering due to shortage of power., said Bangladesh commerce secretary Mahbub Ahmed.

Sai Din Waterfall in Arakan.

Burmese delegates informed at a two-day sixth meeting of the Bangladesh-Myanmar Joint Trade Commission , JTC, that held at Hotel Purbani in Dhaka from Sunday to Monday.

Mr Mahbub said that Burma, which had earlier showed interest to export electricity to Bangladesh, has now rejected the proposal saying that the country itself has been suffering from power shortage.

Bangladesh had proposed to import 500 megawatt electricity from Burma at the JTC meeting.

According to Bangladesh Commerce ministry officials, over the last three years, Bangladesh had been trying to import 500 megawatt electricity from Saingdin hydro-power project and Lemro hydro-power project in Rakhine and Chin states of Burma.

The implementation of Sai Din project is reportedly to complete in the fiscal year 2014-15 while the Lemro project will be completed by 2018.

Initially, Burma had expressed its interest to export electricity and a delegation of Bangladesh Power Division had visited Myanmar to discuss the issue.

They said that basically Burma refused to export electricity to Bangladesh as the country wants to preserve power for future industrialisation hoping that the withdrawal of the economic embargo by USA and European countries would bring in industrial investment into the country.

Burma’s deputy commerce minister Pwint San and Bangladesh’s commerce secretary Mahbub Ahmed led their respective sides at the meeting. The meeting started on Sunday and ended on Monday.

The JTC meeting, however, decided to take steps to sign agreements for setting up direct air links and initiating coastal shipping services very soon.

The meeting also decided to set up two wholesale markets at border, one at the Bangladesh side and another at Myanmar side, and increase the number of commodities for border trade to meet an annual trade target of $ 500 million a year between the two countries.

Both sides also decided to increase cooperation in the areas of oil, gas and mineral sectors and collaborate in facilitation and promotion of trade in agricultural products such as food grains.

On setting up direct air links and initiating coastal shipping services that both countries were supposed to sign two separate agreements on these during a planned visit of Burma ’s president Thein Sein last July, but the visit was later postponed.