POST TIME: 19 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 19 February, 2018 12:57:02 AM
Keep gas price within limit

Keep gas price within limit

With gas supply erratic in many areas of Dhaka city, the revelation that the price of gas may double once imported LNG is injected into the national grid triggers a profound sense of disquiet. Reportedly, price of gas per unit, which is currently Tk 7.34 may go up to Tk 13. In simple terms, this means that to keep the gas price within affordable limit, the government will have to provide subsidy reaching billions of Dollars. According to a report, the power sector which consumes 41 per cent of gas pays Tk 3.16 per unit with the fertilizer sector paying only Tk 2.72 per unit. Now raising the price for the fertilizer sector would be impolitic because agricultural sustainability is essential for Bangladesh to fulfill the sustainable development goals.

One option can be to increase the charge of the power sector, setting a raised amount for industries and factories. Any which way we look, increasing the price will come back to adversely impact one sector or the other which is directly or indirectly linked to the vital economic aspirations of the nation. It’s evident that LNG will be costly because it’s being imported, so the most practical step would be to set in motion the procedure to set up LNG plants here, with specific emphasis on offshore floating LNG terminals.

The hike in gas price will inevitably hit the general consumer who forms the ever-increasing middle class section in the country. Already the government went for a price raise, taking the rate for a single burner stove from Tk 600 to Tk 750 and double burner from Tk 650 to Tk 800. A further plan to increase price was suspended following a High Court directive. This is indicative of the disgruntlement among the masses, who resent such arbitrary raises. The capital is already faced with acute shortage of gas, as a result of which, during winter, several areas of the capital experienced an inadequate supply. This phenomenon is now a yearly problem with gas supply fluctuating during a 24 hour period. Given all these complications and the resentment among the masses, the approach has to be strategic instead of impulsive. The government can also look into raising the gas consumption rates for foreign organisations that work in Bangladesh, exploring the possibility of making cylinder based gas for household usage cheaper.