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Nasrul Hamid

Nasrul Hamid is the State Minister for the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources of Bangladesh.
Summary

His Honorable Excellency Nasrul Hamid is serving as the State Minister for the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources. Changing the entire power-energy scenario, Mr. Nasrul Hamid has become one of the most successful Ministers in the history of Bangladesh. 

He has been the State Minister for Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources since 13 January 2014. The ministry has different departments under his responsibility, including energy, minerals, coal mining fields, hard rock minefields, etc.

Biography

Nasrul Hamid is serving as the State Minister for the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources. Changing the entire power-energy scenario Mr. Nasrul Hamid has become one of the most successful Ministers in the history of Bangladesh. 

He was appointed as the State Minister for Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources from 13 January 2014 to the present. His addition to the Ministry brought robustness, which was in line with the vision 2021. As a State Minister, he envisioned and expedited a plethora of organizational and technical changes. He is highly dedicated to working for the nation according to the vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Mr. Nasrul Hamid was born on 13 November 1964. His father Late Prof. Mr. Hamidur Rahman was a prominent figure in the liberation war, and his mother Late Hasna Hamid was actively engaged into politics for the betterment of the country. 

Prof. Hamidur Rahman was a founding member of the Bangladesh Awami League and was later appointed as the Treasurer of the Awami League. He was also elected as a member of the Parliament in 1970. With the direction of Mr. Hamid, the Power Division brought the electricity generation capacity to 19,202MW which was only 4,942MW in 2009. The number of Power Plants becomes 123 and the total System loss has been reduced by 5.45%. Already 93% of people are getting electricity facilities across the country and the rest of the people will be facilitated by the end of 2018. He ensured the distribution and use of 5.3 million solar-home systems, which is the largest off-grid power solution in the world. In the energy sector, 27 gas fields are in active operation from which daily 2,750mmcfd gas is being produced and LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) has been introduced to meet household as well as commercial demands. 

With his leadership, the Power Division stated a vision in the Sixth Five Year Plan to save 10% energy in the planned period through efficient use of primary and secondary energy and conservation at user level for sustainable energy security including low carbon emission. 

The Energy Division plans for ensuring energy security for the country through the supply of sustainable energy services for all at affordable prices and exploit mineral resources in an environmentally sustainable manner. Both divisions are adopting a Master Plan for achieving the goals towards the ultimate development of the country. 

By his relentless effort, the country has seen $6.8 billion investment from Japan in the Matarbari project, $7.5 billion from China in three projects, including a 1,200MW power project in Payra, $2 billion from India, $2 billion from the USA, and $5 billion from European countries, including Germany and Russia. 

Nasrul Hamid is honored with the award of “Orden del Merito Civil (Order of Civil Merit”, the highest civil honor of Spain by the Majesty of King FELIPE VI, Kingdom of Spain. This is the honor for the development in the Power & Energy sector along with the bilateral relations between countries that inspires and drives the global energy transformation. Mr. Hamid has also been bestowed with the “Visionary Leader of Change” award. World HRD Congress, an India-based organisation, selected Hamid for the award for organising the youths of Bangladesh and making great contributions to increasing their financial opportunities and sustainable growth.


Vision

His vision can be found in a recent interview conducted by Dinis Guarda. 

Power energy scenario in Bangladesh 

“In 1996, the Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, thought power was the driving force. But the country was facing a massive challenge: only 35/36% of people had power in the country. This was the driver that changed the dynamics of power in the country. In 2009, when she came back, she emphasized on providing full power coverage by 2021, and to digitalise the entire country. And if you need to digitalise, you need 100% power coverage. This was the manifesto, which led us to win the elections. She understood the finances and made people understand that Bangladesh has become one of the best countries to invest in the power sector. When I took over as Minister, we used to produce 10289 MW, now it has risen to 24000 MW. Our efforts have paid off. We wanted to get private investment involved and now foreign companies are investing in Bangladesh. Japan came with $6.8 billion to invest in power, but also investment from China, Malaysia, India, etc. We have also updated the policies to adapt it to current times, including critical areas for us like sustainability, renewable energy production, boosting education and digital transformation. This is how changes come, and it was the vision from where the entire economy changed. We went from 3.4% GDP growth to 7.5%GDP growth. People got confident, neighboring countries got confident. In only 6 years, we tripled the power production in the country and we were able to attract foreign investment including Japan, China, the US, or India. Thanks to our actions over the years we now have a coverage of 96%.” 

Goals ahead 

“Bangladesh has 50% of water bodies, 700 rivers. It’s a delta land, the entire plateau is a sea-level plateau. It is therefore a highly challenging area in terms of climate. Additionally, we are 160 million people in the country. So, doing things, building infrastructure, producing energy, and keeping the climate in mind is a challenge. Just as a glimpse, we are the second-largest exporters of textile and garments right after China. Other important industries and sectors are tea, jute, medicines, etc, products that are exported to 105 countries. That requires a huge infrastructure. During our tenure, we have built 108 economic zones and we have done massive efforts to attract foreign investment. A lot of countries are now interested in investing in Bangladesh. Eg: Japan, $6.8 billion-plus building a port plus LPG terminal plus building a township there. They opened up a Japan Economic Zone. China came over as well. India came up with $2 billion for power production. 

In 5 years, we have attracted more than $20 billion in investment from big countries. This story went on, they found out Bangladesh is very harmonious for investments. The cost of labor is very cheap compared to other countries’ standards and 60% of the workforce is young. Moreover, the population dividend will continue for another 30-40 years. So my job was basically to give them uninterrupted power. 

Another thing we have done is that we have connected to other countries and taken power from them. We have built relationships and international affairs that have granted us with hydropower from Nepal, Bhutan, east India. Even from China through Myanmar.

By 2041, our objective is to build at least 60000 MW and reach a developing country stage. We are focusing now on modernizing the power sector in Bangladesh in different ways: we are investing and deploying new technologies and through talent. For that, our government has done massive efforts towards educational programs to create a pool of skilled workers that would improve efficiency and the management of our power infrastructure overall. Our best asset in the country is our young population: over 60% of our population is under 35. We can see that as our biggest opportunity to modernize the country. We need to involve them through internships, training programs, entrepreneurship, research facilities, etc. Because it is our younger generation who can bring innovation and new ideas that will help us as a country for future generations. Only last year, about 800 young people did an internship in the Ministry of Power.” 

Strategies towards international investment 

“Our main challenge is how to make energy production clean. Basic electricity has to be uninterrupted and we are working to provide electricity to all households, factories, etc as clean as we can according to our updated policy. Recently, we have collaborated with China to put up thousands of solar plants. It is a big challenge but we are trying. We are a partner in the Paris Accord to bring this country 100% clean energy by 2050. Our main focus is to understand how fast we can go. Hence renewable solutions like solar energy but also have brought LNG gas as a source for our power production. We have following this policy: if anyone invests, they get tax holidays for 10 years. Our country controls the distribution system unlike in other countries and thus we try to keep electricity as cheap as possible. We never failed to pay back our dues and investors feel confident and hence start investing in larger infrastructure. “ 

Covid-19 

“We have a set protocol to fight the COVID situation. Our ministry has a protocol in line with our government. More than 8,000 foreign workers are working in our country coming from different countries such as China, Japan, the Philippines, India. So one of the main challenges we face now is to encourage them to continue working in Bangladesh as we can’t stop our economy. However, that has been inevitable during the worst of the pandemic and the economy has slowed. During that time, our main concern was our people and our workers’ health. The COVID count is low, and 99% of them have also recovered. We spent our own money from our ministry to buy kits and masks, protective equipment, etc so that they are more confident to work. Plus gone for online dealing ERP. “


Recognition and Awards
Hamid was awarded the Order of Civil Merit (Orden del Civil Mérito) of Spain from Spanish Ambassador Álvaro de Salas Giménez de Azcárate on behalf of King Felipe VI of Spain at a programme in Dhaka. On behalf of the Ministry of Power, Energy & Mineral Resources, Nasrul Hamid recently received The Independence Award, the highest civilian award of Bangladesh Government. The award was handed over by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for securing 100% electricity in Bangladesh.

References
Nasrul Hamid
Nationality
Bangladeshi
Occupation
State Minister and Minister of Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources of Bangladesh
Education
Harvard Kennedy School, DRMC - Dhaka Residential Model College
Social Media
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