Panama-listed firm gets Bangladesh solar power plant job

The government has approved a 50-megawatt solar power plant in Khulna’s Terokhada, awarding the job to a company listed in Panama, the offshore tax haven.

The estimated cost of the 20-year project is about Tk 13.3 billion. The Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase approved the project on Wednesday.    

A joint venture of Business Research International Corporation and Hero Future Energy Asia will implement the project. Hero Future, a subsidiary of Indian firm Hero, is registered in Singapore.

At a media briefing after the committee’s meeting, a reporter pointed out Business Research International is listed in Panama. 

“Is it that Panama?” asked Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, clearly referring to the Panama Papers, leaked confidential documents that revealed how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth.

As the reporter elaborated the joint venture, Kamal instantly called Nasrul Hamid, state minister for power, energy and mineral resources.

After the conversation, Kamal said Nasrul was not aware of the issue and he would brief the minister after looking into it. 

Shamsul Arefin, an additional secretary who attended the briefing, could not give details on the owners of the Panama-listed firm and the time of its inception.   

“The minister has spoken to the power ministry. You will know about it when they send the details,” he said.   

The tariff for power from the plant will be Tk 8.2 per hour, according to him.