Hinting at further increase in gas prices, State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid on Sunday asked the industry owners to get ready to pay higher gas tariff in the future.
“We’re trying to provide imported gas to industries within two years which will be costlier. So, I’d ask the industries to get ready to pay the increased gas price,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar on energy efficiency at a city hotel.
The remarks from the junior minister came within a couple of days of High Court’s suspension of the second phase hike in gas price, scheduled to be effective on June 1. The first phase came into effect on March 1.
The government raised the gas price by 22 percent through the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) on February 23 in two phases.
Nasrul Hamid said his ministry has to increase the gas price due to payment of high tax. “We have to pay 55 percent tax to the national exchequer. If we fail to pay the tax timely, we have to pay a lot,” he said.
Admitting the charging of higher fares by transport operators on the plea of gas price hike, he said it is unfortunate that nobody is talking about the issue. “But when we raised gas price, hartal was called.”
Institute of Policy, Advocacy and Governance (IPAG), a think tank, organised the seminar on the occasion of International Energy Efficiency Day.
Energy secretary Naziumuddin Choiwdhury also spoke at the seminar with IPAG chairman Prof Syed Munir Khasru in the chair.
He said the government has moved to formulate a policy to make the LPG price affordable as there is a plan to replace the existing piped natural gas with the LPG.
“We’ll invite debate on LPG price and controlling issues. Because, more discussions are needed to determine who would control the price and how it will be regulated,” he said.
At the seminar, the speakers laid emphasis on implementing energy efficiency initiatives to reduce the cost of energy.
In a presentation, Power Division joint secretary and SREDA member Siddique Zobair said India has taken a big initiative to promote the use of energy efficient appliances while China has adopted a policy in its budgetary framework to provide subsidy to use energy efficient products.
He said Bangladesh has been studying different mechanisms to set its own strategy to promote energy efficiency.