Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, energy adviser to the prime minister, has said the government is mulling raising gas prices to a permissible limit in phases to help industries run smoothly.
“Gas prices will not be raised like that of electricity and it will be done in phases,” he said at a discussion held at the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) in Panthapath on Monday.
BTMA President Tapan Chowdhury read out a statement at the event. Among others Petrobangla Chairman Abul Mansur Md Faizullah was also present.
The price of gas may go up from Tk3.16 per unit (now) to Tk4.99 in the power sector, from Tk2.71 per unit to Tk4.75 in fertiliser sector, and from Tk9.62 per unit to Tk14.98 in captive power sector, said sources in the government.
The new prices are likely to be effective from May, they added.
Tawfiq asked the industrialists, especially those from the apparel sector, to place their order for imported Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) which is expected to arrive in the country by mid-May, so the government can fix the price of the fuel item.
He also suggested using electronic volume corrector (EVC) metres to get rid of the excessive bills issued by the gas distribution companies.
Tawfiq said efforts will be made to check ‘massive anomalies’ at Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company.
“We will launch a crackdown against those responsible. We may also assign a gas distribution company if the anomalies do not stop,” he warned.
Ha-Meem Group Managing Director AK Azad, who was also present at the program, said the country’s garment sector is seeing a downward trend in investment, mainly due to the higher prices and inadequate supply of gas.
During July-February period of 2016-17 fiscal, capital machinery import witnessed 58.55% growth, whereas the figure drastically plummeted to merely 0.13% over the same period in the current financial, he said.
Azad further said: “If the situation [gas problem] persists, it will be difficult for the textile mills to continue operations.”
BTMA Director Shahid Alam said under the existing gas price, the production cost of each kg of yarn stands at Tk6.58 and it shoot up to Tk22 if per unit gas price is reset at Tk16.
“This will take a heavy toll on our business as we might fail to meet the demand of buyers, thus, losing competitiveness in the global market,” he said.