Bangladesh hikes CNG price by nearly 50%

09:04, May 13, 2011      

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Bangladesh Thursday announced the price hike of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) by nearly 50 percent to 25 taka per cubic meter on the current rate of 16.75 taka.

"The new rate will be effective from today (Thursday) midnight, "Syed Yusuf Hossain, Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) chairman, told journalists at a press conference here.

The BERC made the decision as Petrobangla, the state-run oil, gas and mineral resources corporation, submitted a proposal to the commission on October 14, 2010 to raise the fossil fuel price by around 50 percent.

Price of CNG was raised in the country for the last time in April 2008 from 8.5 taka per cubic meter to 16.75 taka per cubic meter.

The latest decision came after the BERC held a series of public hearings to gather opinions of stakeholders concern.

During the hearings, stakeholders concerned including Consumers Association of Bangladesh, Bus-truck Owners Association and apex trade bodies, demanded withdrawal of the proposal and said the increase will add fuel to the rising prices of essentials.

They also said that CNG price hike will come as a further burden as the government on May 5 had increased prices of diesel, petrol, octane, kerosene and furnace oil.

Following the latest hike, diesel is now being traded at 46 taka per liter, kerosene 46 taka per liter, petrol 76 taka per liter, octane 79 taka per liter, and furnace oil 42 taka per liter in the country.

But Petrobangla Chairman, Hossain Mansur, had defended the CNG price hike proposal.

Apart from helping the government to raise more revenue, he said CNG price hike will help to check the number of unfit vehicles which continue to grow due to the low price of the fossil fuel creating huge tailbacks in capital Dhaka.

Mansur said the average CNG price in Bangladesh is about 35 percent lower than that in Pakistan and India. The cheap CNG has benefited the rich most, as almost all of them have converted their petroleum-run vehicles into CNG-run ones to reduce transportation cost, he added.

But the local environmentalists expressed the fear that the hike in CNG prices might discourage use of the clean fuel and thus increase environmental pollution in the country. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 70 taka)

Source: Xinhua
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