Gas price hike for economic growth: Hasina
Published : Tuesday, 9 July, 2019 at 12:00 AM Count : 231
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday backed the gas price hike, saying the measure was taken for the sake of economic growth.
She justified the current age limit for government job entry showing statistics of pass rate in the exams.
The Prime Minister asked the males to be vocal against the rape and reiterated her tough stance against the heinous incidents.
She was addressing a press conference at her official residence Ganobhaban in the capital.
Sheikh Hasina said people should accept the recent hike in gas prices for the sake of the country's economic development as the government has to import liquefied natural gas
(LNG) at a higher cost.
"If you truly want economic development, it'll have to be accepted," she said replying to a question about the gas price hike.
She said the country could achieve 8.1 percent GDP growth as the government paid enough attention to energy and power generation.
"But, we're to import gas, and the import cost of LNG is huge. Energy is most important for economic development," she said.
The PM said the import cost of per cubic feet LNG is Tk 61.12, but it is being sold at Tk 9.80cf by providing huge subsidy. "Even after the gas price hike, over Tk 10,000 crore has to be given as subsidy."
Referring to gas prices in neighbouring India, the Prime Minister said the prices are still much less than in India. The gas prices are adjusted in India twice a year - first in April and then in October.
"It's said the gas prices were decreased in India. In India the price of household gas is Tk 30-37 per cubic feet whereas that is only Tk 12.60 in Bangladesh," she mentioned.
The gas prices for industrial purpose is only Tk 10.70/cf in Bangladesh against Tk 40-42/cf in India, the CNG price is Tk 43/cf in Bangladesh, which is Tk 44/cf in India, and the gas price for commercial purpose is Tk 23/cf against Tk 58-65/cf in India, Hasina said.
Taking a swipe at protestors, the Prime Minister said leftist and rightist parties raised the same voice over it. They forgot what the situation was 10 years ago, she said.
In 2004-2005, India had wanted to take gas from Myanmar installing pipeline through Bangladesh, but Khaleda Zia government didn't allow it.
Had she (Sheikh Hasina) been in the power at that time, she would have allowed the pipeline ensuring Bangladesh's share from the gas, Hasina said.
She said had Bangladesh taken the share and used it for economic development it would not require to import LNG now.
On the movement of increasing age-threshold for government job entry, the Prime Minister said even after taking a post-graduate degree at present a job candidate has a few years.
She also highlighted the good result of the young and bad result of above 29-year-old people in BCS exams.
Sheikh Hasina said, "Those who are in the age group of 23 to 25 years who have attended the BCS examinations, their pass rate is 40.07 percent.
Those who are 25-27 years old, this is 23.29 percent. Those who have passed the BCS examination from 27 years to 29 years of age, the pass rate is 13.17.
She also mentioned the statistics of the 36th and the 37th BCS which figure same scenario. "Now, it is up to the people and you (journalists) to judge the demand for increasing age threshold," she said.
The Prime Minister further said, "If you take the test in 35 years ... then it will take another 2 years to finish the training. So 37 went.
Giving the importance of the young people to run the government, she said, "We always say that only those young people who are meritorious, whose performance is good, will have to do the development work of the country."
She said however, they will continue the movement. Very good thing. I will not obstruct the movement as they will learn politics from it. But if they continue being persuaded, then you can understand what will happen.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued a strong warning against crimes like rape, saying that her government will do whatever necessary to contain such offences.
"Those who are committing such heinous crimes are not human beings. So we will take whatever punitive action is required," she said.
Referring to Wari rape of a minor girl, Sheikh Hasina said the police are tracking down and arresting the rapists. "The criminals also confess their offences," she said.
The prime minister said now the victims can disclose it. "But there was a time in our country when many could not say it due to social shame," she said.
Sheikh Hasina urged males alongside the females to raise their voice against such crimes.
Replying to another question, the Prime Minister highly praised the Bangladesh Cricket team for their World Cup performance. They showed confidence and fought with courage which is very important, she said.
If the BD cricketers are blamed, then all the countries that skidded off the Semi-final race will have to be blamed too, she said.