Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday in parliament told businessmen that the government could give them uninterrupted gas supply if they agreed to pay the rate at which the government bought gas from international market.
“If they want uninterrupted gas supply, they would have to pay the same price that the government pays to procure gas. There is no reason to provide subsidy here,” she said.
The PM made the statement while responding to remarks of Jatiya Party MP Mujibul Haque Chunnu.
Hasina said Bangladesh is taking the loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with no significant conditions. “IMF gives loans to a country only when it has the capacity to repay.”
Earlier, taking the floor on a point of order, Chunnu said Bangladesh is now meeting some conditions to get loans from IMF and has already raised electricity price and would increase gas price, which will lead to soaring prices of commodities and inflation.
Hasina said the government is giving subsidy to power and gas. “My question is that which country in the world provides subsidy to electricity and gas. No country gives subsidy to them. We’ve increased the electricity generation and ensured its supply. But all will have to exercise austerity in using electricity.”
She said the electricity price was raised by 150 percent in England following the Ukraine-Russia war. “We’ve hiked the price of electricity by only 5 percent and the bulk gas price to some extent now.”
The PM said the spot price of LNG is now $68 in international market, which was earlier only $6. “If so, how much subsidy will the government provide? The government gives the subsidy from the public money.”
Hasina said the commodity prices have gone up across the world. In Bangladesh, the government provided fair price and TCB cards to the lower and middle-income people so that they can buy some essential commodities, including rice, at subsidised rates, she added.
She said the inflation came down slightly in December and January in the country. The food inflation is 13.3 percent in a country like England. The same situation prevails in all other countries of the world. But Bangladesh has not fallen into such situation yet, she added.
The PM said the use of electricity was reduced by 50 percent at the Prime Minister’s Office and the Gono Bhaban. If all take such measures, they can save power, she said.
In reply to a question from Jatiya Party MP Syed Abu Hossain, Hasina said the risk of food crisis stemmes from the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war.
She added that the pandemic and the war have impacted the global economy and Bangladesh is no exception.
Hasina said her government has taken various measures so that there is no food shortage here.
The measures include increasing agriculture production and construction of modern silos.
Responding to another question from Awami League lawmaker Abdul Latif, Hasina placed the statistics over the progress of 10 mega projects.
Of the projects, Padma Bridge and metro rail have already been opened, while Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel under the Karnaphuli river is awaiting inauguration.
She said 52 percent progress has been made in the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant project, 90 percent of the physical work has been completed in the Maitree super thermal power plant project, 71 percent in the Matarbari coal-fired power plant, 81 percent in the Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Project-6, 100 percent in the Anwara- Fauzdarhat gas transmission pipeline, 95 percent in the Moheshkhali-Anwara Gas transmission parallel pipeline, and 92 percent progress in the Chattogram-Feni-Bakhrabad gas transmission parallel pipeline project.
While reading out a scripted answer, the PM at one stage said she was not feeling well due to cold-related complications and requested Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, who was presiding over the sitting, to consider the rest of the answer as read.