"Globally accepted methodologies of social science research were followed"
Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman has appreciated Japanese Ambassador Ito Naoki's expectations of evidence-based arguments and said there is no scope of treating any aspect of its research on fossil fuel-based power plants in the country as unfounded.
"We want to assure him (Naoki) that globally accepted methodologies including data collection and validation procedures, and other standards of social science research were strictly followed while conducting the study," said the TIB executive director in response to comments made by the Japanese ambassador recently.
The Japanese envoy made some comments on TIB's recent research report titled 'Coal and LNG-based Power Projects in Bangladesh: Governance Challenges and the Way Ahead' while speaking at the second Integrated Energy and Power Master Plan (IEPMP) preparation stakeholder meeting, as reported by the media on July 3.
The ambassador called upon Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) to "present evidence-based arguments."
He said, "Some description of a recent report by TIB, which came out in May this year... I'm not going into the details of the project... but when this report says Japan has been influencing Bangladesh (to use) obsolete technology, I found it's rather unfounded."
Adding that the full report and executive summary were earlier sent to the ambassador, the TIB executive director in a statement pointed out that nowhere in the report did TIB said Japan was influencing Bangladesh to use obsolete technology.
The study only quoted relevant experts, according to whom old and brownfield boilers from China and Japan were being claimed as green technologies and thus Bangladesh was being used as a "dumping ground" for surplus and unused coal technologies discarded by developed countries, said the TIB statement.
Iftekharuzzaman said, "On the other hand, the ambassador stayed away from taking the opportunity to address the question of conflict of interest of Japan with respect to the IEPMP, an issue specifically highlighted in the TIB report, although the Ambassador mentioned that it was the third time that Japan was involved in preparing a master plan for the power and energy sector in Bangladesh."
Providing technical support and consultancies by donors are unavoidable and often necessary components in donor-recipient relationships, he said.
"Japanese support in developing the IEPMP is, therefore, welcomed but they could have set a good example of a conflict of interest-free donor practice by facilitating a credible procurement process in which participation of entities having business and investment interest in the eventual implementation of the plan were to be prevented," the statement added.