The government is going to increase electricity tariff soon as the cost of raw materials has gone up, said Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Tuesday.
He said a committee was working on the issue and would submit a report within a week.
“I am certain that the tariff of electricity will rise,” he said at a discussion on the upcoming national budget. The minister, however, said the hikes would be gradual to make those bearable.
“But if you think about the future, the power tariff will continue rising because the prices of raw materials have risen.”
Private television channel ntv and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) jointly organised the event at Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden hotel.
Muhith described the existing power situation well and said investments have already been made to set up power plants to generate 30,000 megawatts of electricity by 2024. According to the minister, the problem now lies with the power transmission and distribution systems.
The government has undertaken many projects to improve the transmission and distribution systems and emphasis has been given on their quick implementation, he said.
Muhith said the government has marginally increased the prices of gas taking into consideration the imports of liquefied natural gas.
FBCCI President Md Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin urged the government to provide a projection on electricity tariff hike. “Otherwise, we can't make our business plan.” In response, Muhith said this would be done.
On infrastructure deficit, the minister called upon businesses to invest in infrastructure projects.
Muhith also said a banking commission would be formed soon so that the new government gets benefits from its report.
“We are also taking a special initiative soon on the capital market,” he added.
Muhith, who is set to place the budget for the 10th consecutive year in June, said the size of the overall outlay for the next fiscal year has not been fixed yet.
The size would be fixed in a week and it might be Tk 4.60 lakh crore, he said.
According to Muhith, the number of registered taxpayers has increased to 33 lakh from about 15 lakh a couple of years ago. “This gives us hope.”
“For this reason, I am considering a reduction in the tax rate.”
“The corporate tax rate is going to be cut and efforts will be made to rationalise various corporate tax rates,” he said.