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Gas tariff hike to hit trade, investment, admits minister

'Growing subsidy' also is a problem

FE Report | July 03, 2019 00:00:00

The latest gas-tariff hikes would certainly affect the country's trade and investment sector, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said on Tuesday.

At the same time, the minister also backed the tariff hikes in the wake of the government's growing subsidy on the product.

"Yes, it (gas-tariff hikes) will have an impact on the county's trade and investment. But how long the government will continue to pay huge subsidy for it," Mr. Munshi said, when his attention was drawn to the hike in gas tariffs on average by 32.8 per cent by the government on Sunday last.

He went on: "The government also has to survive."

He was talking to journalists after his meeting with South Korean ambassador to Dhaka Hu Kang-il at his Secretariat office in the city.

He mentioned that the country's gas reserves were depleting fast. Import of gas also became costlier.

But the government did not raise the tariff despite the increased rates, he said.

Now the gas tariffs have just been adjusted taking various aspects into consideration, he said.

In future, gas import would increase to meet the county's demand. But, the gas tariff would not be hiked keeping pace with the import price, Tipu Munshi said.

He gave assurance that the government would supply gas for the country's industrial sector as required, the commerce minister said.

He mentioned that the government increased the gas price in such a way that the consumers would find it tolerable.

However, the Korean ambassador called on him ahead of South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon's official visit to Bangladesh beginning on July 13 next.

The visit is aimed at promoting economic relations between the two countries. The Korean premier will stay in Bangladesh until July 15.

About 100 business people will accompany the Korean premier during his visit.

Bangladesh and South Korea are members of the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) and both the countries have been maintaining good bilateral trade relations.

Bangladesh's exports to Korea totalled US$ 254.84 million during the fiscal year 2017-18 and imports from Korea accounted for US$ 1,240.70 million, a document showed.

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