Finance Minister AMA Muhith has said gas price will go up further in the next two months and the government will still have to give subsidy to the energy sector.
He said the country will have to depend on the international market for its energy needs as its energy production capacity is low. And that's why the government would not be able to supply energy at a low price for long, the minister told a seminar in the city's Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel yesterday.
Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (Berc) organised the programme titled “Emerging Role of Berc in 2021 and 2041” to mark its 16th anniversary.
Muhith said the government was going to start importing LNG within next two months. The gas price would be hiked once the first consignment of LNG arrives, he added.
The government has formed a committee, led by an additional secretary, to make recommendations about the subsidy amount, he mentioned.
Nazimuddin Chowdhury, secretary of the Energy and Mineral Resources Division, said the supply of LNG might be started on April 25.
“The gas price will go up once the LNG is added to the gas network and there is no alternative to that.”
The government is considering supplying local gas by blending it with LNG to keep the gas price at a tolerable level, he added.
Protecting the rights of consumers and ensuring the sustainability and profitability of suppliers are sometimes contradictory and the BERC will have to coordinate with different stakeholders to make adjustments for this contradictory situation, said the energy secretary.
Petrobangla Chairman Abul Mansur Md Faizullah said the current production cost of gas is about Tk 11 per unit against an average sales price of Tk 6.32. A few days back, Petrobangla had to suffer a daily loss of Tk 9 crore. The figure has now come down to Tk 6 crore after the recent price hike, he added.
Prof M Tamim of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) said the role of a regulatory commission is to ensure that businesses can make an acceptable profit and the consumers don't have to pay excessive prices.
He said the energy regulator's role has to be very strong as electricity would come from multiple sources including imports, renewable and nuclear energy and traditional sources.
Prime Minister's Energy Adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, BERC Chairman Monowar Islam, President of Consumers Association of Bangladesh Ghulam Rahman and Power Division Secretary Ahmad Kaikaus also spoke, among others.