The government’s decision to reduce the price of fuel oil may come into effect in January, says Finance Minister Abdul Mal Abul Muhith.
“We had hoped to bring it down in December, but it was not possible, so we hope to do so in January,” Muhith told journalists at the secretariat on Wednesday.
Asked about the delay, Muhith said:
“The proposal has to be sent to the prime minister as it falls under her jurisdiction. We have not been able to send it yet.”
Though the global price of oil has been falling for two years, the government had kept oil prices unchanged to compensate the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation for its losses.
On Apr 24 this year, the price of diesel and kerosene was reduced by about 4 percent and the price of octane and petrol was brought down by approximately 10 percent. A few days earlier the price of a litre of furnace oil was reduced from Tk 60 to Tk 42.
“We have adjusted the prices slightly this calendar year and that is good enough,” said the finance minister. “We are not worried.”
“The adjustment was based on the $80 crude oil price on the international market. Through prices fell to $40 at one point, they are rising once again. I believe they will end up around $60, so it is not too big.”
Asked why a decision was taken to reduce the price, he explained: “The purpose is to spread the savings and the benefits to all. As everyone is affected by the price of oil, we have decided to bring it down.”
Asked why Bangladesh’s remittance payments have fallen despite a rise in the number of Bangladeshis working abroad, the finance minister said:
“Due to the exchange rate, some use back channels (hundis) for transferring remittance payments, but this will not go on for much longer. There are other problems at the international level, problems in Europe… but it is nothing to be worried about.”
The finance minister declared 2016 a good economic year for Bangladesh, and emphasised the importance of peace and political stability.
“You can see the result for yourself. The planning ministry has adjusted its goal to 7.5 percent. We hope this estimate is correct.
“According to our calculations, the 7.2 percent growth we aimed for was very conservative. It was meant to be conservative, but we have surpassed expectations. So it has been a good year. There are still six months left in the fiscal year, but morning shows the day.”