Director-General and CEO of OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) Suleiman Jasir Al-Herbish today said the funding agency wants to explore new areas of cooperation with Bangladesh as he called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office here.
“Bangladesh is a major partner of OPEC and we have a good relation of long 32 years . . . now we want to explore new areas of cooperation with Bangladesh,” PM’s press secretary Ihasanul Karim quoted him as saying during a courtesy call on the premier.
Karim said the OFID chief discussed the issues related to mutual interests particularly the energy issues and the ways for eradication of energy poverty during the talks and congratulated her Prime Minister for stewarding a massive development campaign.
“We are delighted to be working so closely with Bangladesh,” Al-Herbish said.
Al-Herbish outlined OFID’s pioneering Energy for the Poor initiative and the role the organization played in drawing attention to the importance of energy access as about 1.3 billion people in the world were still deprived of electricity.
He said as the OPEC’s channel of funding to the developing nations, OFID was helping to secure a standalone Sustainable Development Goal relating to affordable and clean energy in the 2030 Global Development Agenda while it gives priority as well to water and food sectors.
The OFID chief said on return he would place a report in the council meeting of the organization in June next expand its stake in Bangladesh’s development process.
Al-Herbish highly praised the Prime Minister for giving shelter to the forcibly displaced Rohingyas of Myanmar saying she accomplished a huge humanitarian obligation by giving them the refuge.
He also inquired about the progress of the Rohinya repatriation, the press secretary said.
The prime minister thanked Al-Herbish for visiting Bangladesh and informed him about the country’s endeavor to meet the energy demand.
She said when she first took office in 1996; Bangladesh was only producing 1600 mw power and in the subsequent five years the figure went up to 4300. But the capacity declined to 3200 mw during the consequent BNP regime.
“Now Bangladesh generation capacity stands at 16,350 mw,” she said, attributing the development to the incumbent government’s epoch making decision in 1996 to involve private sector in power generation.
The prime minister said she is glad to know that women are holding important positions in the OPEC.
About the repatriation of the Rohingyas the Prime Minister said Bangladesh and Myanmar have already signed agreement for their repatriation.
“As a next door neighbour Bangladesh always wants a peaceful solution of the problem with Myanmar,” she said.
Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Md. Nojibur Rahman was present in the occasion.
OFID and Bangladesh have a partnership dating back to the institution’s inception in 1976 but
Al-Herbish’s visit was the first high-level mission to Bangladesh when he signed two loan agreements to help bolster the country’s transportation sector.
The OFID chief earlier met Finance Minister AMA Muhith and State Minister for energy and power Nasrul Hamid and other high-level officials to discuss ongoing and future projects and joined the Bangladesh Development Forum meeting.