Staff Correspondent : Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Energy Advisor Professor M Shamsul Alam has expressed fear that the government may raise the price of fuel again by bringing forward the special shortage or crisis. This expert believes that the gas crisis that is going on in the capital is a part of this shortage.
He said, “There are many unreasonable and unfair cost adjustments in the fuel sector. This has been done by successive governments. The government itself is doing business in this sector to generate undue revenue. It is even giving more profit opportunities at the individual level.
“I think that predatory spending and profiteering in the energy sector should be reduced. Oil and gas or energy sector cannot be considered as a revenue generating sector in any way. In those countries which have considered the energy sector as a revenue generating sector, there has been public suffering and chaos. Bangladesh government is doing that now. The development of the energy sector in combination with the revenue is an unrealistic idea.
Various strategies have to be adopted to keep fuel prices as low as possible. Sustainable development of the economy can be achieved only if fuel prices can be controlled. Instead of doing that, the government and individuals started fierce competition for profit. The government has destroyed the energy sector in order to make more profits. We are repeatedly discussing the problems that exist in this sector. The government itself knows how the crisis is created. We are talking about the repair and reform of the energy sector, Shamsul Alam said.
He claimed that what the Minister of State for Energy said about uninterrupted gas supply was unrealistic. He said, “He has made such an announcement many times. How to supply gas uninterruptedly? Has the government started extracting new gas? That means to depend on imports. In that case, they are thinking about the plan to increase the price.
This can’t be the strategy of a democratic government. Previous evidence has shown that talks without price adjustments do not get public attention. Basically, energy is what generates GDP, investment or employment opportunities. By skyrocketing the price of that fuel, you cannot create employment opportunities for people. When gas and electricity prices go up, everything is affected. Production decreases or production costs increase.
The government has declared Bangladesh as a middle-income country. However, to become a middle-income country, it is important to control fuel prices first. The announcement made by the Minister of State for Energy is a totally political and popular comment. People are not able to eat food for gas now, there is no announcement, no system for that. That means such talk to suppress the special deficiency that exists.
Pointing out that the crisis in the energy sector has been created politically, he said, “All the decisions taken in a society or state are political.” You cannot think of anything outside of politics. But now you have to talk about the political situation first. How much public participation in this politics? Can the people exercise their power? Is there freedom of speech? You have to evaluate politics by taking these things into consideration. Now politics means getting or staying in power. No political party thinks about the people. Democracy means ensuring the welfare of the people. But this democracy is allowing looting. This democracy is working for the interests of the looters without preserving the interests of the people.
Regarding the people, he said, “I think that the people own all the powers. People can change the character of the government if they want. Finally, the people have to wake up. I-You cannot solve this situation. The government will not solve it by itself. Proper pressure must be applied by the people. The government must be forced to ensure people’s rights.
Expressing the fear that the government may increase the price of fuel again, he said, “Whether the price of fuel increases globally or not, we fear that the price of fuel will increase again due to the deficit created by the government of Bangladesh. We are panicking about this. The government may not have decided to increase the prices due to the election. Now the crisis will be brought forward and the price of fuel will be increased.
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