Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) said the regulatory law was not followed in the latest increase of fuel prices.
If fuel prices need to be increased, a proposal should be placed before Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission for a decision, CAB said.
In a sudden move, EMRD raised diesel and kerosene prices by Tk 15 to Tk 80 per litre on Wednesday night citing the global fuel price hike.
The consumer rights body CAB came up with remarks at a virtual press conference on Monday.
It demanded the government cancel the fuel price hike and follow the regulatory procedure.
It said, “BREC is the sole authority to increase prices of fuel or any type of petroleum products according to 34(4) subsection of the BERC Act 2003.”
As a licensee of the BERC, Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) is supposed to submit fuel price hike proposals to the commission according to 34(6) subsection of the law.
“EMRD’s price hike in line with a BPC proposal is a clear violation of the law and a punishable offence,” CAB said.
“It is urgent to reconsider the price hike and take action against BPC and EMRD officials for violating the existing law.”
“According to section 47 of the law, BERC has the authority to do so,” it added.
Had the price hike issue been taken to the top tier of the government, the diesel and kerosene price hike proposal would have been sent to BERC like that of LPG, the CAB leaders observed.
They slammed BPC and energy division for increasing the fuel prices “at their will by intentionally skipping the process of tabling fuel price hike issue to the regulator.”
“This has tarnished the government’s image and made it unpopular to the people. The officials concerned of BPC and EMRD are responsible for this,” CAB said.
According to 34(3) subsection of BERC law, the regulator will fix fuel prices in line with energy supply cost which is consistent with the licensee’s revenue demand.
However, in the last five years, BPC bagged Tk 437.35 billion from the consumers in addition to its revenue demand through high fuel price set by the EMRD, said CAB.
The consumer rights body sought cancellation of the recent office circular about fuel price hike and then placing a proposal to the BERC.
CAB also urged the BERC to review the latest fuel price hike as it has the authority to do so.
The association proposed for creating an energy price stabilisation fund with the additional money taken from the consumers for proving fuel subsidy in case of unusual price hike.