Bangladesh's foreign reserves are good, won't see repeat of Lankan crisis: Minister

The country increased fuel prices by over 50 per cent last week



Photo: ANI
Photo: ANI

By ANI

Published: Wed 10 Aug 2022, 11:56 AM

Amidst 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.

Nasrul Hamid, the Power, Energy and Mineral Resource Minister of Bangladesh, 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 thought whether Bangladesh was poised to face the same crisis as Sri Lanka.

"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 finalised 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 Tk135 ($1.43), a 51.7 per cent increase from the previous rate of Tk89 ($0.94).

"The increased fuel prices now match the Indian price of the fuels," the minister said.

Reacting to protests in the country over the sharp rise in fuel prices, which came up as a shock to the Bangladesh people and caused anger and protest, both online and offline, the minister said that the visuals weren't reflecting 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.

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 organisations, including the Bangladesh Students' Federation, staged rallies protesting against the sudden rise in fuel prices, in front of the National Museum at Shahbagh on Saturday, the 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 Tk34 per litre, octane price by Tk46 per litre, and petrol by Tk44 per litre.

Experts said that the recent hike in fuel prices has had a severe impact on citizens, in terms of their purchasing power, transport freedom, business, and overall standard of living. The rate at which fuel prices increased immediately affected all sectors, including the manufacturing and transport sectors.

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