BPC profits spent on dev projects
Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation used the profits, which it had made over the last several years, in various development projects, Nasrul Hamid, state minister for power, energy and mineral resources, said yesterday.
His comment came following the criticism that the BPC didn't reduce fuel prices when it was making profits, but now it has hiked the prices to cut losses.
The BPC made a loss of more than Tk 8,014 crore since February, and it paid the amount from its own funds, he told journalists at his residence in the capital.
"Now many people are asking why we didn't keep the profits [to tackle a volatile situation]. We have already spent those on various development projects," he said.
In June, the Finance Division published Bangladesh Economic Review 2022, where it mentioned that the BPC made Tk 48,119 crore since fiscal 2014-15.
The government has taken Tk 13,100 crore from the BPC's profits since 2015. The company has its own development projects involving over Tk 30,000 crore.
Nasrul yesterday said, "The profits were used to install a pipeline from Chattogram to Dhaka and another one to bring fuel from ships in the sea to the shore in Chattogram. We have a plan to build an oil refinery and already spent on consultancy for the project.
"We are spending on various projects for ensuring uninterrupted supply of fuelbut its price [in the domestic market] depends on the global market," he noted.
"Diesel price went up to $170 per barrel a couple of months ago. If the price had been adjusted then, it would have been Tk 160 a litre. The price has now dropped to $139. We thought if we adjusted the price now, it would not be as high as Tk 160.
"At present, the import cost of diesel for the BPC is Tk 122 per litre. But the government set the price at Tk 114. Despite the adjustment, the BPC will still incur losses," said the minister.
"If we didn't make the adjustment, it would have been impossible for the BPC to import fuel. Moreover, the US dollar has gained against the taka."
Asked about the sharp hike in the prices of locally produced petrol and octane, he said, "Earlier, we had been able to meet the demand for octane with domestic production but its demand has soared in recent times."
He further said if the price gap between octane and petrol is huge, there is a possibility that a section of unscrupulous traders might adulterate petrol and dupe customers into buying it as octane.
Earlier in a statement, the Energy Division said the BPC had Tk 22,000 crore till July this year to pay import bills.
"With the amount, it's not possible for the BPC to pay the import bills after this month. Besides, no allocation was made in the national budget for the BPC.
"In such a situation, it was necessary to adjust fuel prices to be able to pay import bills without any trouble," it added.