Cabinet asks energy ministry, BPC to justify fuel oil price hike again

Cabinet asks for more clarification as the ministry and BPC faces allegation that their accounts are not transparent

Published : 11 August 2022, 01:06 PM
Updated : 11 August 2022, 01:06 PM

The cabinet has asked the power, energy and mineral resources ministry and Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation or BPC to justify a recent hike in fuel oil prices again.

The instruction came from a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday, said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam.

Anwarul said the cabinet was “aware” that the ministry and the BPC chairman had already spoken about the matter.

Asked if there were any instructions on readjusting the prices to the global market, where the prices are falling, Anwarul said: “[The ministry and BPC] have explained this in detail and they will do so again.”

He declined to comment on the matter. “Because this is a technical issue. Many questions will linger if I try to explain this in brief and I might not be able to answer them.”

“This is why the energy ministry has been asked to rebrief.”

On Aug 5, the prices of diesel and kerosene were increased by 42.5 percent to Tk 114 per litre. The cost of petrol was raised by 51.16 percent to Tk 130 and octane by 51.68 percent to Tk 135, per litre.

State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid blamed volatility in the global market due to the Russia-Ukraine war for the decision, which he said was the only option left for the government to cut subsidies for fuel and save the US dollar reserves.

The decision, however, was met with much scrutiny. The Centre for Policy Dialogue said BPC made huge profits that could be used now to avoid the price hike.

It also alleged BPC’s accounts were not transparent.

“These are the things that were discussed [in the cabinet meeting]. The ministry and BPC have been asked to clarify immediately,” Anwarul said.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher