Gas price hike proposal unrealistic

16th March, 2019 09:46:05 printer

The gas distributors' proposal for doubling the average gas price has raised concerns among consumers, especially the business community. Different degrees of hike for power plants, fertiliser companies, industries and other commercial entities respectively have been proposed. As a result, households will have to count 80 per cent extra money to fire their burners. Amid awkward and perpetual gas crises in both households and industrial network, we are at a loss to learn of another round of price hike.

With the fast-depleting gas resources in the country, there is no option other than depending on imported LNG as the main fuel source. The government imports LNG at a price Tk 39.086 per cubic metre whereas it buys the same amount of gas at only Tk 0.7097. This high price disparity is a barrier to implement the shifting of energy source. This energy crisis is a major hurdle in the way of massive developments underway. The sooner this energy shortage is addressed the better it is for all practical reasons. This step should be followed by pragmatic actions between the government and the entrepreneurs to ensure smooth forward march of the country.

Though agriculture is still the biggest player in the country's forward journey, industrialisation has become a determining factor for the economic progress. But, the steep hike in gas prices, if implemented, will dampen the industrial development and overall progress of the country.  Industry insiders believe that the textile industry will come to a near halt. This in turn means that it will affect the RMG sector as the local textile industry has been a major source of inputs as a backward linkage industry.

Banks and other financial institutions will be affected seriously due to the price hike of gas as most of their clients are from the RMG and textile industries as the industrial base. The price hike will have multifarious affects on our lifestyles.

Thus, it is imperative to seriously rethink the proposed gas price hike before rushing to enforce it.