The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) has expressed deep concern over the proposed gas price hike and urged the government to reconsider the decision.
“In the greater interest of our accelerating economic growth, DCCI requests the government to reconsider the decision and not to raise gas price at this moment,” the trade body said in a statement on Thursday.
The DCCI also advocated for adequate and regular gas supply to the industries to meet the increasing demand. “We should also look for alternative primary energy sources for future energy security.”
The DCCI feels any gas price hike right now will fade the dream of graduating Bangladesh to a middle-income country by 2021 and becoming the 30th largest economy by 2030.
The government, according to the DCCI, is planning to raise the tariff of natural gas again within a year.
Quoting press reports, the DCCI said the government proposed 88 percent on average gas price hike and the public hearing will be held on August 7.
The proposal includes 140 percent hike for domestic use, 130 percent for captive power plants and 62 percent for industries.
Quoting the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC), the chamber body said gas used in fertilizer-producing factories will see a rise of Tk 1.83 per cubic metre which is Tk. 2.58 now.
Tk. 16.80 per cubic metre is proposed for domestic use which is Tk 7 now. A Tk 19.26 per cubic metre is proposed for captive power plants, which is Tk 8.36 now, it said.
When the country is experiencing stagnation in adequate gas supply, the proposed 140 percent tariff rise will adversely affect the cost of doing business and inflation, export competitiveness and industrial production cost, the DCCI observed.
Price hike of gas used in fertilizer production will increase the production cost of agricultural goods which may increase the overall inflation in the country.
The fuel price in the international market is quite low than the previous years.
The DCCI suggested the government to import this low-cost fuel from the international market to meet the domestic industrial demand as an alternative of gas price hike.
“If price hike of gas comes into effect, the country’s RMG and other import substitute export-led industries may lose global market share,” the statement added.
Besides, gas price hike may affect transportation cost, cost of doing business, cost of electricity production, cost of living, prices of essential commodities, the DCCI observed.
Besides, it may create an excuse for illegal and immoral manipulation for price hike affecting purchasing power of common people.