Where BPC's Tk 46,858cr profits went? Experts and stakeholders ask government12 August 2022
The Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) with the help of its huge profits earned since 2015 could have been avoided of the latest record hike in fuel oil prices announced abruptly on the night of August 5. Instead the government chose to pass on the huge price shock to the people with direct effects on transportation, agricultural and industrial production and pushing a surging inflation.
The Centre for Policy Dialogue at media briefing in the capital on Wednesday said the BPC could have used the Tk 46,858 crore profits it made in the last seven years to continue the subsidy on fuel and thus prevent the price hike. It could also have offset the losses it has been incurring over the last six months, said the think-tank, asking the government to disclose what happened to the BPC's profits. These large scale fuel price hikes at one go at a time when global crude oil prices have come down, will not only affect the extreme poor and the poor, but also the fixed-income people. Costlier diesel will raise the cost of irrigation and other farm machinery as 97 per cent of farm activities are now mechanised. The increased cost of farming, if not compensated, might discourage farmers from rice farming which would put future food security at stake, it warned.
Experts and stakeholders have said the latest fuel price hike would bring fresh troubles for the apparel industry and food security may erode due to high farming costs. The price hike came at a time when people are already vulnerable due to commodity price hikes and inflation. The use of diesel -- a costly option -- had already increased in factories due to lack of gas supply. But it would not be feasible due to buy diesel at the new rate and to run the factory. Besides, sales have dropped precariously in the last two months due to the worldwide economic recession. So, this price hike has put the RMG sector in a difficult situation. Most worrying fact is that workers may quit their jobs due to high urban living cost and low income. To them, if India can adjust fuel prices depending on the global market, why can't Bangladesh?
Transparency of BPC's income and expenditure needs to be ensured. Even if it was for the IMF loans, the corporation had the financial ability to continue for a while without abruptly passing the pressure on to the consumers. People want to know where did BPC's profits go?