Using the excuse of the price hike in the international market, the government on 3 November raised the price of diesel and kerosene by Tk 15 per litre. At that time, the price of unrefined fuel touched $85 per barrel in the international market. Within a month the price has come down below $80 per barrel. Because of this fuel price hike, the price of industrial and agricultural products also have increased as the cost of irrigation has increased.

Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) has decreased the price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) at the consumer level last week. It has fixed the price of a 12 kg LPG cylinder at Tk 1228 including VAT from Tk 1313. Though the new price was supposed to be implemented from 3 December, consumers have alleged that many retailers are selling the cylinder at a higher price. The price of every kg LPG in the private sector is now Tk 102.32. The price of LPG cylinder is supposed to be fixed on that calculation. Besides this, price of LPG used in motor vehicles has been fixed at Tk 57.24 per litre which was Tk 61.18 earlier. Consumers will somewhat feel comforted if this new price is implemented.

Claiming that the reduction of LPG price will decrease people’s suffering, BERC chairman said a family could buy at least 2 kg og rice with the amount of money saved. But he did not say how much the expense of people, especially of a farmer who uses machine for irrigation, will increase because of this hike of price of diesel and kerosene. Increased expense in irrigation will increase the expense in agricultural production. Though BERC fixed LPG price through a mass hearing, BPC did not feel any necessity to take people’s opinion into cognizance before hiking the price of diesel and kerosene. Instead they hiked the price unilaterally. Because of this fuel price, public transport fare has also shot up by 28 per cent.

For the last six years the government bought fuel at a low cost from the international market and sold it to the people at a high price. In the process, it has earned a huge profit. But, the government increased the price of fuel by Tk 15 per litre when the price increased a little in the international market. At the time, the state minister for power, energy, and mineral resources Nasrul Hamid said they would reconsider the price if the fuel price comes down in the international market. Several MPs from the treasury and the opposition bench slammed the decision to increase fuel price in the last Jatiya Sangsad session and demanded withdrawal of the decision. In the context of the demand, finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said the price will be decreased in Bangladesh if the price comes down in the international market.

The price of fuel is downward in the international market from mid November. Experts think the probability of fuel price hike in the international market is less likely. In that case the government should adjust the fuel price soon. At least the price should be brought back to what was before 3 November.