Gas prices hiked to serve ‘foreign interests’: Nat’l Committee

DHAKA : Member secretary of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports Prof Anu Mohammad on Saturday alleged that the government has raised gas prices to ‘serve foreign interests’, reports UNB.
He alleged that the government is framing its energy sector policies to serve foreign interests instead of protecting the national ones, and the gas price hike is part of that plan.
Anu Mohammad brought the allegation while speaking at a views-exchange meeting on ‘Bangladesh’s Natural Gas Wealth: National Capacity and Government Policy in Energy Sector’, organised by the National Committee, at Mukti Bhaban in the city.
“All the projects in the energy and power sector have been designed to ensure benefits for foreign companies, not for the country,” said Prof Anu Mohammad, also a teacher at the Economics Department of the Jahangirnagar University.
Held with National Committee convenor Engineer Muhammad Shahidullah in the chair, the programme was addressed, among others, by eminent economist and Dhaka University teacher Prof MM Akas, Prof Badrul Imam, researcher Noor Mohammad and Mahbub Sumon.
Dhaka University teacher Moshahida Sultana, who made a presentation on the government’s policy towards energy sector over the last 30 years, said the government had deliberately created a crisis in the gas sector by not making any investment for exploration in the last 10 years.
“All the steps taken so far mainly to benefit the private sector and serve the interests of foreign firms,” she said adding that the government has finally raised the gas prices to serve their interests.
Prof Badrul Imam said the core target of the government should have been to strengthen the state-owned gas exploration company Bapex. “But, Bapex has gradually been made weaker as part of an international conspiracy,” he said.
Prof MM Akas said there is no logical ground to raise the gas prices. “Various documents of the donor agencies reveal that the government has raised gas prices as per their prescription,” he added.