Senior Scecretary of the Energy and Mineral Resources Division has said that the decision to raise fuel price was absolutely a political, not a bureaucratic one.
âThis was fully a political decision and it was not taken by bureaucratsâ, he told a webinar, organised by Forum for Energy Reporters Bangladesh (FERB) on Thursday.
Defending the fuel price hike, he said there was no other option Â for Energy Division but to raise the price.
He, however, said there is no plan of raising the price of octane or petrol as the two items are produced locally.
In the seminar: titled: âFuel Price Hike: Upcoming Impactâ Secretary General of the Bangladesh Jatrikalayan Samity, Mozemmel Haque Chowdhury said the people will have to pay Tk 73,000 crore extra due to the fuel price and bus fare hike.
The government recently increased the price of diesel and kerosene by 23 percent and subsequently bus fare by 26 percent.
With FERB chairman Arun Karmaker, the virtual seminar was also addressed by Â Chairman of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) ABM Azad, advisor of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) prof M Shamsul Alam, energy expert Prof Ijaz Hossain, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) director Mohiuddin Rubel.
ABM Azad said BPC has no authority to take decision on price.
âThe ultimate decision comes from the government and it has to implement the decision as per lawâ, he added.
Mozammel Haque said the mass people have been pushed to a deep crisis through raising the fuel price.
He said passengers have to pay daily Tk 200 crore and Tk 73,000 crore annually for increased bus fares.
He said the government can easily adjust the BPCâs loss of Tk 6000 crore from the National Budget of Tk 600,000 crore
Dr Golam Moazzem said the government had many options other than raising the fuel price to cover its loss.
He said if the taxes are waived on the fuel import, it would not have to raise the price or the government can compensate BPC loss with stimulus package.
Mohiuddin Rubel said the garment sector will have direct impact of Tk 3000 crore loss. It would have been better if the government waited for some more times. âWe have just started recovering from the Cofid-19 effect. At this stage, such a decision was taken to raise the fuel priceâ.Â
Mohammad Hatem, President of BKMEA, said this was not right time to increase the fuel price when economy has just started recovering from shock of the COVID-19.
CAB advisor Prof Shamsul Alam said itâs a bureaucratic decision to raise the fuel price, not a political one.
He alleged that the government is now acting as player instead of a regulator while owners of transport sector has been acting as regularor.
He said the BPC violated the law in raising the fuel price and In future, the officials will face the trial for violation of law.
BUETâs former Professor Ijaz Hossain Â said all previous governments tried keep the diesel price lower. But current decision seems it is trying to change the policy.
BPDB chairman Belayet Hossain said BPDB is a consumer of energy sector. He also agreed with the apprehension as the economy will suffer from fuel price hike.