Businessmen in Bangladesh urge govt not to hike gas, power prices

Bangladesh businessmen recently urged the government not to raise gas and electricity prices without analysing its economic impact on the public. Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) president Mohammad Jashim Uddin sent a letter on the issue in this regard to the prime minister's power, energy and mineral resources adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury.

Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) president Mohammad Ali Khokon also requested Chowdhury not to increase the price of gas. He urged the latter to consider the recommendation of the technical committee of the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) in determining the price of gas, a Bangladeshi English-language daily reported.

He said the technical committee has recommended fixing the maximum price of per cubic metre gas at Tk15-Tk15.5. If the price is fixed at that rate, the government would not have to provide any subsidy and the industries will also be able to survive. At present, the price of per cubic metre of gas for captive power (used for industrial power generation) is Tk13.85.

Seventy-eight per cent of the country's gas supply comes from domestic sources.

The FBCCI letter also called for purchasing cheap electricity from the regional power market as proposed in the SAARC Framework Agreement on Energy Co-operation (Electricity)-2014 and the India-Bangladesh Memorandum of Understanding, 2010. It also urged to take and implement Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN)-based projects in the hydropower sector.