A K Azad: Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) has raised the tariff of gas again. It was raised by Tk 5 to Tk 50 percent and average by Tk 22.7 percent. The price hike will be effective in two phases- from March 1 and June 1 respectively.
Needless to say, the gas tariff hike will obviously increase the cost of people’s living. Especially, lower and middle income people will suffer a lot by this decision.
The two-phase price hike in just three months will affect common people’s living badly as the prices of all essential commodities will also rise twice within this short period.
Complying with the gas tariff, transport fare, industrial cost and prices of electricity will also rise which will certainly affect people’s purchasing power.
There are around 12 crore people in the country who live under middle and lower class. The large number of people must face economic problems terribly by this tariff hike.
We frequently witness that government takes the short way of increasing prices of fuel and energy with the excuses of subsidies. Some days ago, water price has also been increased. State Minster for power and energy resources already hinted to raise the power prices as well. If it happens, this will throw people in numerous adversities in this high cost society.
In January, house rent was increased in Dhaka city.Now most of the transports are Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) based. Prices of all commodities, transport fare, house rent etc will rise when the first phase of gas tariff hike will come into effect in March.
Month of Ramadan is not so far. The prices of essentials commodities will be unstable again as the second-phase gas price hike will also be effective in this month. This must appear as untold sufferings to the common people.
This time, the government has decided to raise the gas tariff as the salaries of the gvot staffs and duty collection increased. Still, it was possible to meet the demands with the surplus money of this sector.
In most cases, BERC follows the short way of tariff hike to avoid the subsidiary. But, there is a way to increase income in different ways including prevention of the corruptions and system loses.
If government follows these ways, people will not have to pay extra bill. It is duty of every pro-people government to consider the consumer rights before enforcing any decision.
Otherwise, the outcome of price hike may be devastating. As major portion of population live under middle class, the price hike will affect their livelihood when they will not be able to earn more money. Crimes and anarchy might increase in the society. So, people’s purchasing power and consumer rights should be considered before enforcing the gas price hike. Besides, the government should also be more attentive to remove the gas crisis.
It should be bear in mind that gas is a natural resource and its stock is not unlimited. Fuel experts are not able to tell that how much gas is in stock currently. Besides, no new gas connections are being provided for household or industry. No energy policy is also been established in case of using this priceless natural resource. It should be fixed whether the valuable gas will be used as fuel for private cars, public transports, households or industries. It should be ensured that what will be the permanent system of supplying gas—through cylinder or pipeline. All these things are most important for ensuring energy security.
risingbd/Dhaka/Feb 27, 2017/A K Azad/Augustin Sujan