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Won’t make much difference: experts

Wed Aug 31, 2022 02:50 PM | Last update on: Thu May 30, 2024 11:14 PM

Won’t make much difference: experts

The government's decision to cut fuel prices by Tk 5 per litre would have little impact on the crisis that people are now facing, said economists and experts.

They criticised the move to reduce the prices by such a trivial amount, saying not much will change.

Bangladesh Road Transport Authority held a meeting yesterday to discuss bus fares in light of the new fuel prices.

Though no decision was made, sources said, fares "might be reduced by Tk 0.05 per kilometre".

That means if a passenger travels at least 20 kilometres, they could save only Tk 1.

Bus fares were hiked after fuel prices shot up to Tk 40 per km on the long route and Tk 35 per km on the city route earlier this month.

Apart from that, prices of essentials, including rice, lentils, edible oil, salt, vegetable and even baby products, saw a considerable rise within 23 days of the fuel price hike.

Speaking to The Daily Star yesterday, Zahid Hussain, former lead economist of Dhaka's World Bank office, said, "This [cut in fuel prices] will not have much impact on the market. If the prices were reduced further, the people would have benefited.

"All of the government decisions [in this regard] seems to have been taken on an ad-hoc basis, without any homework done."

He further said, "Prices changing twice in one month is not explainable. Besides, on what basis did they reduce the prices by Tk 5? Do they have any answers? They have no formula, no transparency.

"The government, instead of talking to various stakeholders, is making decisions based on the advice of the bureaucrats… It [the government] is being held hostage by the bureaucrats."

Nasrul Hamid, state minister for power, energy and mineral resources, in a Facebook status wrote about how the current prices, after reduction, are still a burden for majority of the people.

"We will adjust the prices again once and if the global market prices are slashed."

He urged the people to be patient.

Meanwhile, hundreds of citizens commented in the negative on his post.

Alabaksh Taher Titu wrote that the decision is a ridiculous one, especially for the poor.

A subscriber of The Daily Star, Rakibul Islam, commenting on the news published in this connection, said, "It's a mockery at the expense of the general people."

Another reader, Ismail Hossain, said the government made the move only for the benefit of the businesses.

Prof M Shamsul Alam, vice-president of the Consumers' Association of Bangladesh, on Monday said the decision has created grounds for businesses to make illicit profits.

"The decision will not affect the prices of any of the [other] products that were raised in line with the record hike."

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