LPG price hiked taking no responsibility of its execution

12 October 2021

AFTER the runaway prices of essentials and proteins, liquefied petroleum gas, which has progressively become the fuel of choice for cooking and running vehicles, has become 22 per cent dearer. From 10 October, a 12 kg cylinder is supposed to sell for Tk 1,259 from the 27 private operators. Previously, the official price of a cylinder of LPG was Tk 1,033, although people had to buy the same at Tk 1,200-1,300. It has come as a double shock to common people as on the one hand peoples' income has fallen because of the pandemic, and on the other, prices of all essentials have soared. In August, inflation stood at 5.54 per cent, up 18 points from the previous month.
This is the fourth hike in the price of LPG cylinders since April, when the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) for the first time fixed the retail price of the fuel. As per BERC, they adapt the price to Saudi Aramco's announced price for propane and butane. But experts say the price hike, which is the biggest since April 12, was the energy regulator's giving in to the demands of the industry stakeholders, which include the LPG cylinder manufacturers, bottling plant owners, importers and traders. The BERC has fixed the LPG price in line with the current month, facilitating the private operators to sell their stock at a higher price. The price of 12.5 kg cylinder from the state-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation would remain unchanged at Tk 591.
Undeniably, the BERC has abandoned its responsibilities, which are - creating a competitive market, controlling unscrupulous entities and protecting consumers' rights. Now they have paved the way for businesses to build an oligopoly in the market. BERC has been setting the price since April, but consumers are paying higher because of non-compliance by the sellers. The BERC chief refused to take any responsibility for the failure in the implementation of the price at the retail level. We must say the government should increase its market share to stop the monopoly of some companies and until then it should provide subsidies to the consumers as cooking fuel is an essential component for everyday life.

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