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The sense in paying more for gas

  • Published at 07:25 pm March 15th, 2017
  • Last updated at 08:04 pm March 15th, 2017
The sense in paying more for gas

For most people, cheaper gas seems to be a good thing.

After all, lower gas bills mean citizens have more money in their pockets in the short run, and a hike in gas prices seems to hit at people’s ability to afford household essentials.

It is, then, no surprise that many have taken to the streets to protest the recent rise in gas prices, which they have every right to do.

But the truth is, when gas is subsidised for the price to be kept artificially low, it is the rural poor who end up footing the bill for it.

Most households in Bangladesh do not even have a gas connection -- most usage of natural gas takes place in urban areas.

Ironically it is these rural poor who are hit the hardest through these subsidised gas rates.

The system is not efficient, and it is not sustainable.

Is it any surprise, then, that gas generates so little revenue for the nation?

Bangladesh needs to think long-term, and play its cards better -- the gas price hike, unpalatable as it is, and counter-intuitive as it may sound, is a sensible part of that vision.

Higher gas prices will enable higher returns and allow more opportunities to focus on improving our overall energy supply, by curbing or ending the use of natural gas for domestic use, focusing on importing liquefied natural gas, prioritising gas exploration, and increasing the use of renewable energy.

This way, our country will also stop punishing the poor for the consumption habits of the rich.

Low gas prices encourage wasteful behaviour, with some households leaving the stove on all day just to save a matchstick.

It is only by cutting out waste, and focusing on long-term sustainability, that Bangladesh will be able to ensure a clean and secure future for its citizens.