An acute gas crisis has hit Chittagong, and residents are suffering.
As a nation, we have long been over-reliant on gas for household needs, and the country is suffering because of the lack of alternatives.
When the government subsidises gas to keep prices artificially low, it is the poor who ultimately pay for it. In Chittagong, too, it is the poor who are hit the hardest, with CNG drivers in a particularly difficult position.
By distorting market signals, these subsidies cause the overconsumption of natural gas we are currently seeing, leading to a supply crunch and, consequently, the unavoidable price hike. Notice how a price-reducing subsidy eventually causes a price increase. Such is the paradox of a well-meaning gas subsidy.
Since the system right now is inefficient and untenable for us moving forward, and with our precious natural gas reserves running ever so low, we should be looking for alternatives instead.
To that end, putting a higher price tag on the use of natural gas will pave the way for newer avenues for energy, such as importing liquefied natural gas, increased use of renewable energy, and prioritising gas exploration -- as more long-term solutions to a problem that has plagued our nation for far too long.
This way, we will also stop punishing the poor for the consumption habits of the well-off.
To sum it up, when gas prices are set too low, it leads to wasteful behaviour on the part of consumers, and it is only by cutting out such waste and emphasising on longer-term solutions that we can ensure energy for all of our citizens.