Government gets powers to change energy prices in ‘special circumstances’

President Md Abdul Hamid signs an amended ordinance on the matter amid turmoil in the energy market over the Russia-Ukraine war

Published : 1 Dec 2022, 03:06 PM
Updated : 1 Dec 2022, 03:06 PM

President Md Abdul Hamid has assented to an amendment to the ordinance to change energy prices, giving the government the powers to lower or raise the prices of electricity and fuel directly in ‘special circumstances’.

The constitutional figurehead signed the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (Amendment) Ordinance 2022 on Thursday.

The ceremonial head of state issues an ordinance on emergency matters when parliament is not in session. The ordinance is presented in the session of parliament after the issuance.

When the government raised fuel prices in August, the decision was challenged in the High Court as only the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission, or BERC, had the powers to adjust energy prices following a process set by the law.

The government then moved to change the law to avoid complications, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said after the the cabinet on Monday approved a proposal to amend the ordinance amid turmoil in the energy market over the Russia-Ukraine war.

The BERC faces some problems, for example, Anwarul said, when sometimes it cannot coordinate properly on an urgent basis in case of immediate needs.

Asked whether the power, energy and mineral resources ministry would be able to change fuel prices any time, he said, "The BERC will do it at normal times, the ministry will do it in special circumstances."

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher