Tag Archives: Standard & Poor

Biogas plants’ benefit visible in Rajshahi rural, sub-urban areas


Biogas plants’ benefit visible in Rajshahi rural, sub-urban areas
By Dr Aynal Haque

RAJSHAHI, June 10 (BSS)- Low-cost biogas, an alternative fuel for cooking, is increasingly getting popular among the people at different rural areas even in outskirts of the metropolis for the last couple of years.

Biogas is not only used as fuel for cooking foods but the slurry, main effluent of the biogas plant, is also being used as organic fertiliser in the farming fields for boosting its production and in the ponds as fish meal.

The people, who never thought of having gas for cooking rice in their remote areas, are now regularly using for their domestic purposes like civic life. Currently, more than 400 rural families are using biogas instead of firewood to cook foods and to boost farm and fish production.

The Premtaly and some of its adjacent localities under Godagari Upazila has been identified as biogas village, local sources said.

Most of the users expressed their satisfaction over the biogas plants as they find this alternative fuel much cheaper than firewood and any other fossil fuel.

Marzina Begum, 45, a housewife of Bijoynagar area under Godagari upazila, has been using the biogas for the last one and half years. She cooks meal for her seven-member family twice everyday.

She said the use of the price hiked kerosene and LPG cylinder has become unbearable in the rural life.

In that case, use of biogas is very comfortable and it has no negative impact to the environment, she clarified.

“In addition to cooking meals of our eight-member family, I have been running a cow-fattening farm with 26 cattle and seed production project on 45-bigha of lands commercially with my two biogas plants simultaneously for the last one and half years,” said Aminul Islam Fatik of Bidirpur area.

He said that he had set up a 2.5 square-meter plant with his own initiative in 2007 for meeting up his domestic fuel demands.

Afterwards, he installed another 4.8 square-meter plant in 2010 for fulfilling his domestic and commercial demands through using the natural resources especially eco-friendly biogas and slurry.

Sabrina Reja, 30, wife of Selim Reja, of Premtali Dumuria, described her practice while she was cooking their midday meal in her double-burner oven. She said all of their daily family cooking is being done with the biogas excepting the winter season.

She added that the biogas is very effective for the cooking meal for any farming family as it requires more utensils and needs additional workforce for cleaning of those regularly.

But, the biogas has no smoke and black spot on the utensils, so there is no extra burden of cleaning and washing.

“We have eight cattleheads and all of their dung are being used in our plant,” she said adding, “We cook rice bran of four kilograms for the cattleheads besides three-time meals for our seven-member family everyday and regularly with the gas”.

In the process, she said there is no extra cost to feed the cows excepting the rice straw.

Referring to multifarious problems relating to cooking in conventional earthen stove Sabrina Reja attributed that the biogas cooking contributes a lot to remove the obstacles by large.

By dint of the biogas cooking, she said their life style has been changed at a greater extent.

Women members of the family are being benefited more in the new system as most of them are liable to manage the rural family especially cooking together with cleaning and washing the utensils.

Murshalin of Premtali Khetur area said the use of biogas has brought a new dimension in his family.

As a whole, the plant has ensured security of the domestic consumption of fuel.

“In addition to cooking meals of our nine-member family, I have been running a tea stall at Premtaly Bazar where around 80 cups of tea are sold everyday and all the tea-water are being boiled by our own biogas,” said Shariful Islam of Kathalbaria.

‘We never thought of having such type of privilege in our village. But biogas has made things happen, by which we save at least Taka 900 per month as the water boiling purpose.’

Not only that, the harvested bioslurry is being used in 10 bigha of fish culture ponds as primary feeds for boosting fish production.

“Earlier, we had to use the cow-dung as cooking fuel, but now using those in the biogas plant by which, we are getting diversified benefits,” said Rafiqul Islam of Shekherpara adding that the dried slurry is also being used as cooking fuel.

He said a family of five to six members can easily cook their foods and fulfill the demands of organic fertiliser of his farming field and fish culture ponds from one plant.

Various vegetables and fruits especially banana are being grown well on surrounding grounds of the slurry dumping ditch without any extra fertiliser and care, he viewed.


S&P reaffirms Bangladesh’s rating with stable outlook


S&P reaffirms Bangladesh’s rating with stable outlook

DHAKA, May 31 (BSS) – Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services today affirmed its ‘BB-‘long-term and ‘B’ short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Bangladesh with stable outlook.

The transfer and convertibility (T&C) assessment remains ‘BB-‘.

The country got the same rating and outlook from this US-based rating agency for the third consecutive year. The first yearly rating was done in 2010.

With the latest one, Bangladesh is rated the second highest in South Asia behind India (BBB) and ahead of Sri Lanka (B+) and Pakistan (B-). Other countries in the BB category include Turkey, Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.

“The stable outlook reflects strong growth prospects and ongoing donor support, which ensures low-cost and long-maturity external debt and minimizes refinancing risk,” the S&P said in a statement on the rating.

The stable outlook reflects strong growth prospects and ongoing donor support, which ensures low-cost and long-maturity external debt and minimizes refinancing risk. These factors are balanced against lingering inflation risk and balance-of-payments pressure as imports expand.

The rating agency also draws attention to limited fiscal flexibility due to low revenue generation capacity and expenditure rigidities stemming from significant physical and human capital development needs, and a large subsidy regime.

Low economic development and an adversarial domestic political setting are also seen as major barriers to achieve further improvement.

“We project the country’s total revenue at 13 percent of GDP (including grants) in fiscal 2012, which ranks as one of the lowest among sovereigns we rate,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Agost Benard and added that the limited fiscal flexibility contributed to years of public underinvestment, stunting the country’s growth potential.”

The agency said Bangladesh’s low wealth level at a per capita GDP of US$637 (2011) is a key rating constraint, but it believes that such low incomes afford minimal policy and political flexibility when responding to exogenous shocks, or if severe policy adjustments are needed to avoid default.

It said Bangladesh’s weak institutions and governance hamper investment and development, while its volatile political setting detracts from legislative efficiency and harbors the potential for instability. These factors are additional rating constraints.

The rating agency, however, said that these constraining factors are balanced against strong growth and external support.

“In our view, the strength of key economic segments – garment, remittances and agriculture – will sustain growth in line with recent trends, rising to about 6.7 percent by 2015, as global demand recovers, Benard added.

The S&P observes that Bangladesh benefits from substantial bilateral and multilateral donor engagement as donors provide direct budgetary support, which, together with education and health services to the general population, eases the burden on the government.

“We could raise the ratings if the government succeeds in expanding the revenue base and improving collection efficiency, leading to a material improvement in its fiscal performance. We could also upgrade Bangladesh if alleviating energy, infrastructure, and administrative bottlenecks unlocks rising investment, leading to a sizable and sustainable increase in real GDP growth,” it said.

Conversely, it said we could downgrade the sovereign if fiscal slippages result in rising public debt and external donor support declines materially.

We could also lower the ratings in the event of a reversal of corrective policy actions taken so far to address fiscal and balance-of-payments pressures, or other substantial deviation from the policies required under the IMF Extended Credit Facility program.

Earlier on April 30 and May 3, S&P delegate visited Bangladesh and met with Bangladesh Bank (BB), the National Board of Revenue (NBR), economic and energy advisers to the prime minister, representatives of donors and chambers and think-tanks to prepare the rating.