Power price increase to hid hard Bangladesh industries, exports, say businesses
Country’s business leaders on Thursday expressed their dissatisfaction over the increase in the electricity price, saying that the tariff hike would adversely affect the country’s manufacturing sector.
The Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday raised the average retail prices of electricity by 5.3 per cent and the new prices would come into effect from March 1.
Businesses feared that the electricity price hike would push up the cost of production and hence the competitiveness of Bangladeshi products in the global market would go down.
They also apprehended that many industries might become sick with the growing cost of doing business rendering a good number of people jobless.
Sheikh Fazle Fahim, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries, said that the price hike was ‘regrettable’.
He said that the production cost would go up due to the price hike of electricity.
‘For the sake of national interest, any increase in power price, if needed, should be spread over time to have a nominal effect on the cost of doing business,’ Fahim viewed.
‘I don’t know how the country’s industry would be viable. Most industries have been facing difficulty due to the high cost of bank loans, increased workers’ wages and gas price hike. Now the power price will put additional burden,’ Bangladesh Chamber of Industries president Anwar-Ul Alam Chowdhury Parvez told New Age on Thursday.
He said that Bangladeshi products would lose their competitiveness in the world market as the cost of production would go up due to the increased utility prices.
Parvez said that the high price of electricity would raise the production cost and many industrial units might turn sick forcing large numbers of workers out of job.
Rubana Huq, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association said that the electricity price hike would not be beneficial for the industry.
‘Since our business costs have gone up by almost 29.40 per cent in the last four years and since prices have steadily gone down, there’s no way we can afford any increase of any sort,’ she said.
Bangladesh Textile Mills Association president Mohammad Ali Khokon said that it would be difficult for the country’s primary textile sector to bear the additional cost of electricity.
He complained that the government increased the power price on the grounds of loss but the excuse was not acceptable as people were not responsible for the loss.
‘Why should you increase the production of electricity without upgrading the distribution and transmission systems? Why should people pay for the poor distribution, transmission and grid lines?’ Khokon questioned.
The production of electricity would never be profitable without upgrading the distribution, transmission and grid lines, he emphasised. (Source: New Age)