A circular to adjust prices of octane, petrol, diesel and kerosene will be issued within ‘seven to 10 days’, says State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid.“We want to offer a reasonable rate,” he said on Monday at his office.Speaking to the media, the minister initially said a circular would be issued within seven days, but later revised that to ‘within seven to 10 days.’“The circular will address prices of octane, kerosene, petrol and diesel. We have already adjusted the price of furnace oil,” said Hamid.“I already said it will be something around Tk 10. We’ve tried to bring it within that. We’ll adjust oil prices in two to three steps, but not for every kind of fuel oil.“The prices will be revised within seven to 10 days. The first phase maybe within ten days and the next phase will be in another six to seven months. A third step will follow in six to seven months’ time.”He said his ministry will work with other sectors for gas and electricity where prices need adjustment with oil.He also said refilling stations will be raided to stop adulteration of oil from Thursday. “Anyone found guilty will immediately lose their licence.“We’ll start this operation tomorrow. We already have reports. There are 1,200 pumps and we’ll gradually move to cancel the licences of pumps that are responsible for adulteration.”Octane costs Tk 99, petrol Tk 96 and diesel Tk 68 per litre after the adjustment with global prices in 2013.On Mar 31, the price of furnace oil, mainly used at power plants, was cut by Tk 18 per litre, bringing it down to Tk 42 from Tk 60.Demands, too, have risen over five million metric tonnes with more oil-based power plants and vehicles.
But the ongoing slump in global prices of oil has moved businesses bodies to demand a revision in Bangladesh but the government retained the old prices saying it was to help Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation to recover from losses incurred from subsidies.But it soon changed stance and announced new prices for furnace oil on Apr 4.Minister Hamid added Bangladesh was in a position where it no longer has to import petrol and the government did not want to import octane either.“We will (refine) these in our own country. It will serve as a huge relief for our economy.”He also said the government was creating a ‘master plan’ to stop waste and misuse of natural gas.“For households, we are stressing on LPG (Liquefied petroleum gas) cylinders instead of gas connections. If we can do that, there maybe some left for the mass transit sector. We’ll also adjust gas price.”The minister said the government has a plan to adjust gas and power prices, too.The prices, however, will go up.“There are plenty of investments for electricity transmission and distribution. But we are still in a loss in terms of transmission, we have to adjust prices there.”He said transport fare should also be adjusted with the drop in oil prices.About the cut in oil prices in phases, he said the BPC was still in debt. “So we want some more time.”The government will cut off power and gas connections to the buildings that do not have permission for commercial use.“We’ve already sent over 6,000 notices,” he said.According to Hamid, the cut in furnace oil price will save nearly Tk 2 billion a month. “We are planning to invest this money.”He also claimed the number of customers seeking electricity supply is too low compared with the country’s capability to generate power.“It puts us in loss. We also have to adjust this with the price,” he said.In the minister’s opinion, it will not be possible for Bangladesh to get the status of a middle-income country without the use of minimum 650-kilowatt power per person. It is 365kw a person now, according to him.He emphasised increasing people’s ability to purchase.