Parliamentary committee for more gas, power prices hike

01 September 2015

A parliamentary watchdog feels the latest hikes in electricity and gas prices are justified despite protests against the increase.
It says there is scope for further hikes in phases, although a section of the ruling Awami League are critical of the rise in power tariff despite a fall in international oil prices. The parliamentary standing committee on power, energy and mineral resources ministry discussed its views on the announced price hikes at its meeting on Sunday. After the meeting, Committee Chairman Tajul Islam told reporters, "The amount by which the power tariff has been raised is bearable. "This hike will not hurt the consumers," he claimed.
"There is scope to further increase prices in phases. Gas prices should be determined by keeping the international prices in mind." He further claimed gas prices in Bangladesh were low compared to other Asian countries. Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) on Aug 27 raised gas and electricity prices by 26.29 and 2.93 percent, respectively. The businesses have demanded the withdrawal of the decision, saying a power tariff hike will adversely impact commodity prices. The BNP has protested against the price increase. The Jatiya Party, too, has demanded the revocation of the decision. Awami League MP Suranjit Sengupta has criticised the decision and appealed for reconsideration.
The parliamentary committee on Sunday advocated a cut in oil prices following a drop in international prices.
Tajul Islam said, "The committee feels that it is not fair to say that oil prices cannot be reduced now because subsidies had been paid when international prices were higher."
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith has, however, recently announced that oil prices would be re-fixed in September by adjusting them with the international prices.
Islam said, "The (Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation) has always supplied oil at reduced prices. It wants time to recover the losses. This aspect too deserves to be considered. "But it is also logical to cut prices by keeping the interest of consumers in mind," he added.

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