In the aftermath of Gulshan terror attack in July, the estimated cost of 1,200MW Matarbari coal-fired power plant project is likely to go up as the two Japanese bidders for the project are revising their proposals, adding the cost of additional security arrangement.
The bidders – Sumitomo Corporation and Marubeni Corporation – are going to appoint separate consulting firms to estimate the cost of the security arrangement at their Dhaka office and the project site in Cox’s Bazar during both the bidding ceremony and the execution of the project.
“The Japanese bidders said they would submit their bid proposal after adding the security cost. The date of submission has not been decided yet,” said an official of Coal Power Generation Company Bangladesh Ltd (CPGCBL), the state-owned company that is implementing the project.
Requesting anonymity, the official further said the Japanese refused to submit any tender proposal in Bangladesh until security situation became normal again.
“The Japanese workers’ families are more concerned about security in Bangladesh than the bidders,” he added.
The original deadline of the final bid submission was on July 24, but following the attack on Holey Artisan Bakery on July 1 where terrorists killed seven Japanese nationals along with 16 others, the bidders requested the CPGCBL to suspend the tender submission process indefinitely.
Receiving the letters from the bidders, the CPGCBL pushed the deadline back by one month, but the bidders were not satisfied with the extension.
In a recent meeting with the Power Division and CPGCBL, representatives of Sumitomo and Marubeni re-affirmed their stance on the matter, sources told the Dhaka Tribune.
During the meeting, the Bangladeshi government officials tried to convince the Japanese delegates to submit the bid document, but they remained firm on their decision of not submitting the proposals until an indefinite extension was allowed.
“We have extended the deadline for three months. We will extend it further upon consulting with the Japanese bidders. We are undertaking several measures to assure them of security and that we are prepared to cooperate with them,” CPGCBL Managing Director Md Abul Quasem told the Dhaka Tribune recently.
The security concerns are mainly over the construction of Matarbari power plant. For the other relevant tasks of the project, the government has assigned 10 armed police officers and 57 armed Ansar members to each site for security.
Following a request from Japanese bodies, the government has also approved a permanent police camp at the project site.
The power plant will have two units, each having 600MW of power generation capacity. Imported coal will be used at the plant to generate power, sources said.
This project is the largest in the country’s power sector in terms of both investment and power generation capacity.
The project will be partly funded by a loan of $3.7 billion from Japan International Cooperation Agency, which will be payable at an annual interest rate of 0.1% over 30 years, with an initial 10-year grace period. The rest of the cost will be covered by the government.
The power plant construction is scheduled to start in January 2017, with its operations set to start in 2023.