Bangladesh, which is experiencing a power deficit after shutting down all of its diesel-powered power facilities, will extend school closings by one day per week and shorten office hours, a government official announced on Monday.
The ten diesel power plants in the South Asian nation were all shut down last month after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine increased the price of imported gasoline. Last month, Bangladesh started having daily two-hour power outages, but many areas of the nation have considerably longer blackouts.
About 6% of Bangladesh’s 23,000 megawatts of total power producing capacity comes from the shuttered facilities. Nearly three-quarters of the total is produced from imported and locally produced natural gas.
The shortened hours start on Wednesday. Most schools in Bangladesh are closed on Fridays, but as of this week, they will also be closed on Saturdays, according to Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam.
He claimed that while private offices would be free to determine their own schedules, government and banking institutions would reduce their workdays from eight to seven hours.
What prompted the government to make this choice?
The conflict in Ukraine has disrupted supplies, which has prompted oil and food costs to skyrocket globally. Since the government shut down all diesel-powered power facilities, the nation has seen more frequent power outages, which has resulted in a 1,000 megawatt reduction in daily electricity production.
Actions taken to stabilise the situation
In recent weeks, Bangladesh has taken steps to reduce the strain on its shrinking foreign exchange reserves. Fuel costs increased by more than 50% last month. According to the government, it is looking into possibilities for a unique arrangement to obtain cheaper petroleum from Russia.
However, in order to support the $416 billion economy of the nation, which has been expanding quickly over the past ten years, officials have committed to keep supplying power to industrial zones.
After Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Bangladesh requested an undetermined loan from the International Monetary Fund in July, becoming the third government in South Asia to do so recently.
Starting on Wednesday, government offices will be open from 0800 to 1500 instead of the normal 0900 to 1700, while banks will be open from 0900 to 1600 instead of 1000 to 1800. Private businesses are free to determine their own hours, according to Islam. According to him, the government will give communities uninterrupted power for irrigation from midnight till dawn.