Diesel, kerosene prices 23pc up
Diesel and kerosene are 23 percent costlier at Tk 80 per litre from today as the government moved to recover the losses of the state-run Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) from the surging global energy prices.
In the July-September period, the average price of oil shot up about 71 percent to $73 per barrel, according to the World Bank's commodities price data. Then in October, it hit $83.7 a barrel.
Subsequently, many countries, including neighbouring India, are adjusting the prices of the two fuels at regular intervals, said the energy ministry in a statement yesterday following the price hike.
For instance, on November 1, the price of diesel in India was Rs 101.56, which is about Tk 124.41, whereas it was Tk 65 in Bangladesh.
Considering the current purchase price, the BPC is losing about Tk 20 crore per day: it is selling each litre of diesel at Tk 13.01 lower than the purchase price and furnace oil Tk 6.21 less.
Subsequently, in October, the BPC logged in losses of Tk 726.7 crore, the statement said, adding that the government agency has been racking up losses of about Tk 20 crore a day.
Bangladesh consumes 40 lakh tonnes of diesel -- 72 percent of which is by the transport sector and 20 percent by the farmers during the boro harvesting season -- and about 1 lakh tonnes of kerosene mainly for cooking, lighting and aviation fuel.
So their price increase is bound to fan the flames of inflation.
In September, inflation rose for the third consecutive month to 5.59 percent.
The ultimate effect of the increased prices of kerosene and diesel will fall on the users of public transport, said Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue.
"This will stoke inflation further and increase the cost of living, which is not desirable at this time," he said, adding that the government could have provided a subsidy to the BPC instead of raising the prices.
Besides, the government did not bring down the prices of petroleum locally after oil prices plunged internationally for the pandemic.
"At that time, BPC made a tidy profit," he added.
The government last hiked the price of diesel in 2013, and then on April 24, 2016, it was brought down by 4.4 percent to Tk 65 a litre, said a senior BPC official.
"Our losses will come down following the increase," he added.