Friday, 18 October 2019, 11:55AM


Prime Minister defends gas price hike


Senior Correspondent, | 12 July 2019, 06:19AM

Prime Minister defends gas price hike
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Photo: Collected

From Jatiya Sangsad Bhavan: Prime Minister unambiguously told the Jatiya Sangsad that I am not here to do politics by selling out the resource of the country. Defending again the gas price hike, the Leader of the House said the Petrobangla had proposed to raise the price of gas by 102 percent as the import of LNG is very costly.

“As per the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission, there was a necessity to increase the gas price by 75 percent. But considering the economic pressure of the consumers, the government has increased the price by 32.08 percent,” she said.

She said all these last night in the wrapping up of the 3rd and budget session of 11th Jatiya Sangsad.

Sheikh Hasina said the price of per cubic meter gas at the consumers’ level is Taka 9.80, but import cost of per cubic meter of LNG is Taka 61.12.

“So we’re giving Taka 51.32 subsidy on per cubic meter gas,” she said, adding that the amount of annual subsidy is Taka 19,310 crore.

The premier told the Sangsad that the government will give subsidy of Taka 7,990 crore, while the amount from the Energy Security Fund will be Taka 2,420 crore so that the people do not feel more economic pressure in this field.

Sheikh Hasina said her government has kept the price of gas at tolerable level considering the sufferings of the common people.

Spelling out various steps of her government for development of the energy sector, she urged the people to be economical in using gas and electricity.

Sheikh Hasina said energy is very much necessary for overall development of the country. “We are providing electricity to 93 percent people and we have achieved capability of producing 22,000 MW power. We are constructing fertilizer factories, while works of various development projects are going on,” she said.

The Leader of the House said the government has set a target to take the GDP growth to double digit by 2024. “So energy is a must to achieve the goal,” she said.

The prime minister said Awami League could not come to power in 2001 as her government had opposed the export of gas.

“We suggested export of gas by keeping its reserve for 50 years after meeting the demand of gas of the people as we do politics for the country and welfare of the people,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the government has taken steps to introduce pre-paid meter for the use of gas and electricity to check its misuse.

Reminiscing her meeting with former president of Jimmy Carter, Sheikh Hasina said that, ‘Before the election of 2001 Carter proposed to Sheikh Hasina to export gas but I refused. I told him that we have not enough gas to export. I left Carter in Hotel Sonargaon apparently making him annoyed. But after my departure Khaleda Zia stayed back and agreed to the proposal of Jimmy Carter thus paving the way to go her to power. In the election followed we could not go to power though we got more votes than BNP-Jamaat alliance.’