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Abrupt hike in fuel prices to curb oil smuggling

People to bear the brunt

08 August 2022

Staff Reporter :
In the name of curbing oil smuggling to neighbouring countries, the government abruptly hiked the fuel prices, but such explanation is ultimately affecting the commoners who are already under severe financial constraint.
Talking to a number of government officials and experts, they pointed out that people are already experiencing the brunt of inflation and this additional burden will make the life more miserable.
It is alleged that diesel is being smuggled to India from Bangladesh across the border due to lack of proper vigilance by appropriate authorities.
Taking the opportunities of loopholes in bordering areas, smugglers have allegedly been smuggled several hundred liters of diesel from Bangladesh to India daily.
However, Bangladesh Border Guard (BGB) officials said that they have strengthened the vigilance in bordering areas to prevent any smuggling including fuel as they recovered 711 liters of fuel when smugglers attempted to smuggle it to neighbouring country in the last two years.
Diesel is now being sold at Tk 112.67 per litre in India, while Bangladesh price is Tk 114 per litre.
"The BGB members are alert in bordering areas round the clock. We are trying to prevent any kind of smuggling in broder areas," Lt Col Foyzur Rahman, Director (operations) of BGB told The New Nation on Sunday.
When asked regarding fuel smuggling, he replied, "We have recovered 711 litres of oil from smugglers in
the last two years. We are containing the smugglers with in iron hand."
The BGB has modern equipment to prevent and identify the smugglers, he added.
Meanwhile, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Sunday said that the government had no option but to hike up the prices considering the risk of fuel smuggling due to the higher fuel oil prices in neighbouring countries.
The government had readjusted and reduced fuel oil prices in the past in line with costs in the international market, and it would do it again in the future, assured Quader, who is also general secretary of the ruling Awami League.
Blaming the Russia-Ukraine war for the volatility of fuel oil prices, the minister said the invasion had severely affected the US dollar-taka exchange rate, and that the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) had to incur losses because of it.
Earlier in May 2021, Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) had urged deputy commissioners (DCs) of the 26 bordering districts to take measures to control fuel oil smuggling across the border.
Mostly, the lorry and trucks are involved in the racket, they enter into Bangladesh with a half or quarter loaded lorry and fill it from local pumps (a large oil truck can load 1,360 liters (359 gallons of diesel), BPC urged the DCs to check the vehicles at entry points thus we can stop the smuggling, sources said.
The government on Friday announced that it had raised all fuel oil prices, which came into effect on Saturday.
Now the price of diesel and kerosene per litre at the consumer level is Tk114, octane Tk135, and petrol Tk130.
It may be noted that oil prices slid about 4% on August 3 to almost six-month lows, after US data showed crude and gasoline stockpiles unexpectedly surged the previous week and as Opec+ said it would raise its oil output target by 100,000 barrels per day.
The price of diesel per litre is Tk112.56 in Myanmar, Tk114 in India, Tk117.49 in Sri Lanka, Tk122.80 in the United Arab Emirates, Tk127.82 in Nepal, Tk189.78 in Singapore and Tk260.75 in Hong Kong, Quader said.

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