Fuel oil prices go up again
BNP to enforce general strike any day next week in protestStaff Correspondent
The government increased the prices of all fuel oils, except furnace oil, by Tk 5 to Tk 7 a litre with effect from midnight past Thursday.
Prices of diesel and kerosene have been increased by Tk 7 a litre, from Tk 61 to Tk 68.
The price of petrol went up by Tk 5 a litre, from Tk 91 to Tk 96 while that of octane was increased by the same amount, from Tk 94 to Tk 99.
The latest round of price hike came one year after prices of all fuel oils were increased by Tk 5 a litre on December 30, 2011.
The government has so far increased the price of diesel and kerosene by Tk 24 a litre and that of petrol and octane by Tk 22 in five phases.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led opposition alliance, meanwhile, decided to call a dawn-to-dusk general strike for a ‘convenient’ day next week in protest against the fresh hike in fuel oil prices.
An official handout issued on Thursday claimed
that the inflation would not cross the 7.5 per cent limit set for the current fiscal although it was 7.22 per cent in October last year.
The handout sought to justify the latest price hike by saying it was aimed at offsetting losses, estimated at about Tk 8,500 crore in the current fiscal, because of rising oil prices on the international market.
The Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation was counting Tk 11.77 in losses for a litre of diesel and Tk 12.15 for kerosene even after the latest hike, the handout said.
The BPC, however, is at a break-even point in marketing furnace oil while it was making profit for petrol and octane before the latest price hike.
The government increased the price of furnace oil by Tk 34 a litre in 2011 – from Tk 26 to Tk 60 – in six phases.
The International Monetary Fund has tagged a set of conditions with its $1 billion credit which includes withdrawal of subsidy on petroleum.
‘This winter is an excellent time for hike in prices of fuel oils,’ finance minister AMA Muhith earlier told journalists after a meeting with IMF’s Extended Credit Facility review mission that visited Dhaka last month.
On conclusion of its mission, the team of the funding agency recommended ‘adjustment’ of fuel-oil prices automatically, raising the prices by 40 cent or Tk 20 per litre, to cope with the price hike on international market.
The disbursement of the second tranche of ECF was delayed by two months due to non-execution of the IMF conditions, including automatic price adjustments of fuel oils.
The BNP at an emergency meeting of its standing committee with party chief Khaleda Zia in the chair late last night took the decision to call a daylong hartal in protest at the latest round of fuel oil price hike.
‘The hartal will be called for a convenient day as we earlier announced we would enforce a general strike if the government increases prices of electricity, gas and fuel oil,’ a standing committee member told New Age after the meeting.
The party is likely to formally announce today the date for hartal.
Standing committee members, including Mahbubur Rahman, Nazrul Islam Khan, Rafiqul Islam Mia and Abdul Moyeen Khan, attended the meeting.
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia during her ‘mass contact’ in the capital on December 26 threatened to enforce a general strike if the prices of gas, power and fuel oils were raised further.
Later, the BNP standing committee and leaders of the ‘18-party’ alliance with Khaleda Zia in the chair decided to hartal a day after the government would increase the prices of fuel oils.
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