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Dhaka Tuesday,  Oct 4, 2022

Experts Say Tk 5 Fuel Price Cut Won’t Ease Public Life But Will Lower Transport Costs

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Experts think the government’s decision to slash fuel prices by Tk 5 a litre after the 50 percent average hike 23 days ago will not help in the “slightest” to ease the lives of citizens.

However, many experts believe it will allow transport owners to save up expenses on daily trips.

On Aug 6, the government increased diesel and kerosene prices from Tk 80 to Tk 114 per litre, petrol from Tk 86 to Tk 130 each litre and octane from Tk 89 to Tk 135 per litre.

These unprecedented price spikes shot long-route bus fares up by Tk 0.4 per km and Tk 0.35 each km inside the city.
Experts say Tk 5 fuel price cut won’t ease public life but will lower transport costs

On Monday, the government lowered diesel and kerosene prices to Tk 109, octane to Tk 130 and petrol to Tk 125 per litre.

Shamsul Alam, the energy adviser at the Consumers Association of Bangladesh or CAB, said authorities did not take the decision for the welfare of the people, rather it was to “confuse” them.

He said that it will simply establish the higher price points and is a “laughable move” to end controversies. “Even talking about it is foolish,” he angrily said.

ABM Amin Ullah Nuri, the secretary at the Road Transport and Highways Division, had little to say about whether the fuel price cut will lower the transport fares.

“We are yet to receive the order and I can speak about it once we do,” he said.

Abdul Motaleb, the general secretary of Bangladesh Truck & Covered Van Owners Association, said: “This price cut won’t have the slightest effect on public lives.”

He thinks the impact would have been visible if diesel prices were brought under Tk 100 per litre. “If the fares from Farmgate to Gulistan had risen from Tk 10 to Tk 15 [after the last fuel price hike], it won’t return to Tk 10 now.”

Motaleb, however, thinks that some might stop forcing bus passengers for more fares.

The costs of rice leapt by Tk 5 to Tk 10 after the last fuel price hike while it also drove the prices of chicken and eggs. Traders in the sector think Monday’s decision will lower the transport expenses.

But Motaleb said goods transportation charges change “differently” and are not determined by the government. These charges go up if demands for the transportation of a particular item are more and vice versa.

He said the last fuel price hike caused transport expenses for a trip between Dhaka and Mymensingh to surge by Tk 3,000 and they dropped by around Tk 500 after the Tk 5 per litre cost adjustment.
Experts say Tk 5 fuel price cut won’t ease public life but will lower transport costs

If the prices had gone up to Tk 7,000 for the route, he added, it will now be Tk 6,500. “For us, this is nothing.”

Kazi Sarwar Hossain, the proprietor of Jugantor Transport Agency, echoed Motaleb. He said fees for each truck rise or drop by Tk 2,000-Tk 3,000 due to import and export frequency at the borders.

Khandaker Enayet Ullah, the general secretary at Bangladesh Road Transport Owners’ Association, said they will accept the BRTA’s decision on the matter.

“We said we’ll adjust prices after oil prices are lowered and we’re not moving away from that statement. But BRTA can say how much it will lower the transport fees, not we.”

Mahbub Uddin, the president of Bangladesh Launch Owners’ Association, said the water transport sector will set fares through discussion. “We’re also supposed to sit with the shipping minister on Tuesday.”

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