She said the import cost of per cubic feet LNG is Tk61.12, but it is being sold at Tk9.80 with huge subsidy
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, people should accept the gas price hike for the sake of the country’s economic progress, as the government has to import Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) at a higher cost.
“If you truly want economic development, it will [gas-price hike] have to be accepted,” she said.
The prime minister was replying to a question while briefing journalists at her official residence Ganabhaban on Monday afternoon about the outcomes of her just-concluded visit to China, reports UNB.
Bangladesh could have achieved 8.1% GDP growth, said Sheikh Hasina adding, “It was possible as we paid enough attention to energy, and we could have increased power generation, too. But, we have to import gas, and the import cost of LNG is huge. Energy is most important for economic development.”
The premier said, the import cost of per cubic feet LNG is Tk61.12, but it is being sold at Tk9.80 by providing huge subsidy. “Even after the gas price hike, over Tk10,000 crore has to be given as subsidy.”
Hasina said there are two ways that remain open-- either to refrain from increasing economic growth by reducing LNG import, or accepting the price hike in the interest of economic development. “Gas prices are also adjusted in all countries, in line with energy or gas import," she added.
Referring to gas prices in neighbouring India, the prime minister said, our prices are still much less than in India. The gas prices are adjusted in India twice a year – first in April, and then in October.
“It is said that the gas prices were decreased [in India]. [In India} the price of household gas is Tk30-37/cubic feet, whereas that is only Tk12.60 in Bangladesh,” she mentioned.
The gas prices for industrial purpose is only Tk10.70 per cubic feet in Bangladesh against Tk40-42 in India, the CNG price is Tk43 per cubic feet in Bangladesh, which is Tk44 in India, and the gas price for commercial purpose is Tk23 per cubic feet against Tk58-65 in India, Hasina said.
Taking a swipe at protestors, the prime minister said leftist and rightist parties raised the same voice over it. “They forgot what the situation was eight to nine years ago.”
In 2004 to 2005, India wanted to take gas from Myanmar installing pipeline through Bangladesh, but Khaleda Zia government did not allow it.
Hasina said: "If she (Sheikh Hasina) had been in power at that time, she would have allowed the pipeline ensuring Bangladesh’s share from the gas."
She also said, if Bangladesh had taken the share, and used it for economic development it would not require to import LNG now.
Hasina returned home on Saturday wrapping up her five-day visit to China.