By Ashoke Raj
New Delhi [India], August 10 (ANI): Amid raging protests against skyrocketing fuel prices, the Bangladesh government has asserted that Dhaka won't see a similar fate to the Sri Lankan crisis because the country has a substantial amount of foreign reserves.
Power, Energy and Mineral Resource Minister of Bangladesh, Nasrul Hamid, speaking exclusively to ANI ruled out the possibility of Bangladesh seeing massive public anger against the ruling dispensation.
"Bangladesh has a good foreign currency reserve, there is no such possibility," Hamid said when asked if he thinks that Bangladesh is poised to face the same crisis as Sri Lanka.
The Minister further clarified that fuel is the lifeline of any country's economy and we have sufficient reserves of petroleum products and a good supply chain in the country by December 2022.
"Petroleum oil is one of the most important elements of any society and country. We can treat this as the lifeline of the economy. Therefore, we are always careful about the energy security of the country. We have been maintaining a very good supply chain of petroleum products to ensure the energy security of the country. We have sufficient stock of refined and crude petroleum oil in our storage tanks and the import lineup has been finalized up to December 2022," Hamid said.
Bangladesh increased fuel prices by over 50 per cent last week which was the highest increase since the country's independence in 1971.
According to a price notification from the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, one litre of octane now costs 135 takas (USD 1.43), a 51.7 per cent increase from the previous rate of 89 takas (USD 0.94).
"The increased fuel prices now match the Indian price of the fuels," the minister told.
Reacting to protests in the country over the sharp rise in fuel prices which came up as a shock to the Bangladesh people and social media anger and protest, the minister said that the visuals don't reflect the reality of the country.
"There is no massive protest in the country. Social media does not reflect the reality of the country. A price hike always impacts a normal lifestyle. It may be mentioned that the price will be adjusted again if the international market price goes down," the minister said.
Protests erupted across the country after the government raised the prices of fuel on Friday night. The decision came into effect on Saturday.
The sharp rise came as a shock to the people who thronged filling stations on Friday night. In numerous videos shared on social media platforms, thousands were seen crowding the filling stations and jostling to get their vehicle tanks filled.
Several student organizations including Bangladesh Students' Federation staged rallies protesting against the sudden rise in fuel prices in front of the National Museum at Shahbagh on Saturday, Dhaka Tribune reported.
Now the price of diesel and kerosene per litre at the consumer level is Tk114, octane Tk135, and petrol Tk130. The price of diesel has been increased by Tk 34 per litre, octane price by Tk 46 per litre, and petrol price by Tk 44 per litre.
Experts said that the recent hike in fuel prices has a severe impact on citizens, affecting their purchasing power, transport freedom, business, and overall standard of living. The rate at which fuel prices are increased is immediately affecting all sectors, including the manufacturing and transport sectors, and increases inflation. (ANI)