Revoke hike in fuel prices
The Consumers' Association of Bangladesh yesterday demanded that the government make life easier for the people by revoking the hike in the prices of diesel and kerosene.
The surge in fuel prices will add to the sufferings of those who are already struggling with skyrocketing prices of essentials, said CAB President Ghulam Rahman at a virtual press conference.
He said that due to the latest fuel price rise, bus and launch fares too have already gone up, and this will be reflected in the prices of essential goods as well.
The CAB organised the press conference to demand that the government scrap the fuel price hike decision and send a proposal in this regard to the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC).
On November 3, the energy and mineral resources division in a gazette announced the increase of diesel and kerosene prices by Tk 15 per litre.
Following this, transport owners went on a countrywide strike demanding a hike in transport fares.
On Sunday, bus and launch fares were increased by 28 and 43 percent respectively.
Addressing the press conference, Ghulam Rahman said the sudden fuel price hike was a bureaucratic decision that was taken considering only business interest.
"Instead, a political decision was required in this regard."
He proposed that the government form an effective "energy price stabilising fund" to mitigate the adverse effects of fuel price hikes.
Meanwhile, in a written statement, the CAB said the latest price surge was in violation of the BERC act 2003.
Reading out the statement at the press conference, Prof M Shamsul Alam, energy adviser to the CAB, said the energy and mineral resources division increased the prices of diesel and kerosene after a proposal was sent to them from the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC).
However, as per sub-clause 34(4) of the BERC act, the responsibility of raising prices of all fuels, including petroleum, falls solely on the BERC, which is supposed to make a decision after a hearing in the presence of all stakeholders.
In this regard, the BPC has to submit a proposal of fuel price hike before the BERC, not the energy and mineral resources division.
In over five years, the BPC maintained the fuel prices set by the energy division, going beyond the jurisdiction, and "took away" about Tk 43,734 crore from consumers in addition to its targeted revenue, CAB said in the written statement.
Architect Mubasshar Hussain also addressed the event.