Major factories will be shut down if gas prices are increased, and export earnings would also be affected. Besides, small and medium industrial units will be in deep trouble if the decision to hike gas prices is carried out.
The newly elected president of the Bangladesh Chamber of Industries (BCI), Anwar-ul Alam Chowdhury Parvez, said this while addressing a press conference on the occasion of installation ceremony at a hotel in the capital yesterday.
“It is illogical to increase gas prices by 102.85 per cent in residential and industrial sectors, despite the gas distribution company being a profitable organisation. It is totally unacceptable,” he said.
According to Parvez, it has also been proposed to hike gas distribution charges.
“Prices of products will increase if gas prices are raised,” the business leader said. He added that it would have a negative impact on industries, investment and employment generation.
He urged the authorities not to hike gas prices, considering its consequences. All industrial units will face a dangerous situation, he added.
“It would be a great barrier to achieving the target of sustainable development goal (SDG) and Vision 2041, becoming a developed nation if the gas price is hiked. Many major industrial units and small medium entrepreneurs (SME) will have to close down their units,” Parvez said.
The BCI president said the country"s economy was in a strong position due to the relentless attempts both by the government and private sector.
The national growth has reached eight per cent from seven, he said. “It is important to maintain the trend of national growth of gross domestic product (GDP). For this, it is important to pay special attention to structural development and the private sector,” Parvez observed.
The BCI president proposed that the trade licence fee for young entrepreneurs for five years should be fixed at Tk. 300.
Besides, the government should introduce five per cent special tax facilities in industrial units for appointing physically disabled and transgender people, he said.
The public hearing of the state-owned Petrobangla on March 11 proposed to raise gas prices. Petrobangla cited the import of LNG in the near future as the major reason for increasing gas prices again to Tk. 9.55 per cubic metre from the existing Tk. 7.17.
Between June 11 and 21 last year, there was a similar hearing, and Petrobangla backtracked from hiking gas prices, taking the “situation” ahead of the 11th general election into consideration.