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Concern over gas price hike

Top business leaders plan to meet PM

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12th-Jul-2019       
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Kazi Zahidul Hasan :
Alarmed by the adverse impact of gas price hike on industries, top business leaders will meet the government high-ups seeking review of the gas prices.
They are keen to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to convince her in keeping the industrial sector out of the gas price hike, says an Industry leader.
The latest increase in gas tariff has already sparked outcry from businesses as it threatens to derail the industry's growth.
"Prime Minister is our last resort. So, we keen to meet her seeking review of gas price hike," Mohammad Ali Khokon, President of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), told The New Nation on Thursday.
Prior to the meeting, he said, businesses have engaged themselves to devise a common strategy on how to exempt the industrial sector from gas price hike.
Recently, the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) announced gas price hike by 32.8 per cent on average to help the government bear the expenses of importing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
"The record gas price hike will derail the growth of manufacturing sector, especially the textile sector," said Khokon, adding, "A 44 per cent gas price increase for captive power plants will directly impact the textiles mills as most of the factories run such plants to offset unreliable supply of grid electricity."
He further noted that such a rise in gas tariff will raise cost of doing business and it will therefore seriously affect competitiveness of local textile units.
"If the textile sector loses edge because of gas price hike, the apparel exporters will also suffer," he added.
The BTMA leader mentioned that textile units are working as backward linkage industry for garment manufacturing units, which contributed more than 84 per cent, or $34.13 billion to the country's total export earning in the immediate past fiscal (2018-19).
"We are working to communicate our concern to the government high-ups," said Khokon, adding, "We hope to meet the Prime Minister if she allows us to discuss the issue."
According to the increased price, captive and small power plant operators will have to pay Tk 13.85 per CM of gas instead of Tk 9.62 with 43.97 per cent hike.
The gas price hike for industry is 37 per cent as the industry owners will have to pay Tk 10.70 per CM instead of Tk 7.76 per CM.

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