Businesses oppose gas price hike proposal

BTMA says textile sector will be ruined if gas price goes up

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Mar 13,2019

 
 

A file photo shows a man working at a textile mill on the outskirts of Dhaka. Businesses including textile sector leaders on Tuesday opposed the proposal of Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company for hiking price of gas. — New Age photo

Businesses on Tuesday opposed the proposal of Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company for hiking price of gas and demanded predictable policy on gas and power prices saying that irrational increase in utility prices cut business competitiveness and discourage investments.
Titas proposed to increase price of gas used in captive power plants, mainly run by industries, and industrial units by 96 to 132 per cent.
The fresh increase in the price of gas would make the entrepreneurs bankrupt and hamper employment generation as the cost of business increased by 29 per cent in last few years, Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industries president Md Shafiul Islam said in a public hearing on the proposals for hiking gas prices held at TCB auditorium in the capital on the day.
Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission organised the public hearing.
Considering the present situation of business, the government should not increase the price of gas, the FBCCI president said.
Bangladesh Textile Mills Association also opposed the Titas proposal saying that the proposal was completely illogical before ensuring promised standard of services and uninterrupted supply of gas.
In the hearing, BTMA president Mohammad Ali Khokon placed a position paper of the trade body on the Titas proposal for gas price hike.
In the paper, BTMA expressed its deep concern over the proposal for hiking service charge and gas price.
The trade body also opposed any government move to implement the proposal of the distribution company.
BTMA president said that large scale textile mills invested huge amount for developing infrastructure and importing generators for producing electricity as the government encouraged them for captive power generation.
Gas supply situation in last five years was very fragile and the production cost of yarns and fabrics went up during the period due to lower supply of gas and higher bills for the service, BTMA said.
The trade body demanded compensation from Titas for the textile mills as the sector incurred huge losses for lack of proper supply system of the distribution company.
BTMA urged the government and BERC not to allow any price hike proposals before paying compensation by the distribution companies.
The trade body in its position paper said that more than three million people directly and indirectly depended on the country’s primary textile sector that invested more than $7 billion.
The sector would be ruined if the government made any ‘wrong decision’ like increasing gas prices for captive power generation, BTMA said.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Md Siddiqur Rahman said it was not right time to increase the price of gas as businesses just started getting the connection of gas after a long wait with huge investments.
He said that industries would not afford the increased gas price now as both the textile mills and readymade garment sector recently increased the wages of workers while many other costs also went up in recent years.
The time and procedure for hiking prices of gas should be logical, Siddique said.

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