FBCCI objects to plans to hike power prices, seeks 20-year roadmap

Saturday, 21 May 2022

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) has objected to energy regulators' plans to hike power prices.

The premier association of businesses also sought guidance from the energy regulator regarding their plans to raise prices over the next 20 years, reports bdnews24.com.

Calling it a ‘roadmap’, the FBCCI said such guidance will attract foreign direct investment and help large businesses to plan for the future.

The demand came amid a recommendation made by a technical committee of the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) to raise bulk electricity prices by 57.83 per cent without fixing natural gas prices first.

The recommendation, which immediately drew flak from all quarters of the business community, was made on Wednesday during a public hearing.

The agenda of the hearing was to assess the Bangladesh Power Development Board’s (BPDB) proposal of raising bulk electricity tariffs by 66 per cent.

Calling the proposal unreasonable, the FBCCI President Md Jashim Uddin warned at a press conference on Saturday that if the regulator eventually approves the proposal, it would only exacerbate the already skyrocketing inflation rate in the country.

The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics reported a 6.22 per cent general inflation rate in April, the highest point since October 2020, driven by soaring prices of food items.

Blaming the pandemic and on-going conflict in Ukraine as the main reasons for inflation, the FBCCI president said: "We strongly believe it is not the best time for a tariff hike. Production and operating costs have already been doubled. We recommend the regulator to monitor the situation for the next six months first, before making any move. Otherwise, domestic industries will be forced to shut down.”

As a representative of the business community, he also asked for politicians’ intervention to settle the matter.