The chief of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation, the government agency responsible for importing, distributing and marketing oil and petroleum products in the country, has dismissed news reports indicating that the government initiated a rationing system at the consumer level due to a shortfall.
Rather, at a press conference on Wednesday, BPC Chairman ABM Azad said the country is at no risk of shortages of fuel at the moment and such instruction of selling a limited amount of fuels at the pumps has not been issued.
He said imports are scheduled to ensure fuel, including diesel and octane, supply for the next six months.
“Cumulatively, we’ve six months of fuel combining what we have at the moment and the fuel that is about to be imported,” he claimed.
“Even if no fuel is imported, the country has 32 days of diesel and furnace oil in its stock at the moment.”
Azad also added that there are 44 days of jet fuel.
In a statement issued later in the day, the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources reiterated the same message and alleged that a quarter with vested interests is circulating such “false and fabricated” information to mislead people.
A top vernacular daily on Tuesday published a report on its website about the government’s fuel rationing measure as a part of a larger austerity programme since importers have been struggling to open new letters of credit in the banks due to a shortage of dollars lately.
The government was forced to shut down diesel-run power stations as the price of diesel has skyrocketed in the international market and the government opted not to purchase diesel as of now to save an already depleted US dollar reserve.
The government has initiated multi-pronged belt-tightening measures since the last quarter of the previous fiscal in the face of an increased price of fuel in the global market and most crucially, due to a crisis of foreign exchange.
The authorities have been blaming the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war for the high prices of oil and liquefied natural gas, or LNG, in the global market.
On Wednesday, however, both the BPC chairman and the ministry dismissed the notion that people in Bangladesh have anything to worry about.
Bangladesh produces all the petrol and 40 percent of the diesel the consumers use.
However, diesel is a precious commodity as the country imports the entirety of it and at least 13-14 metric tonnes of it are used every day, mostly in the transport sector and irrigation purposes.
Bangladesh imports around five million metric tonnes of diesel in a year.
BPC boss Azad confirmed that two shipments- one with 50,000 metric tonnes of octane and the other with 30,000 metric tonnes of diesel- is due in the next two days.