Wednesday, February 21, 2018 | ePaper

Reaction of businessmen, consumers'

Adverse impact on economy feared

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Kazi Zahidul Hasan :
Businessmen and consumers have reacted sharply to the latest hike in electricity tariff saying that it will add to the woes of ordinary people as well as industries.
Flaying the hike, they said it would put more burden on the household, commercial and industrial consumers at a time of rising commodity prices and manufacturing costs.
 "The hike on commercial and industrial usage will lead to higher production cost and hurt competitiveness of local industries," FBCCI (The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry) President M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin told The New Nation in his reaction over the issue.
He said local industries are facing numerous problems to maintain their competitiveness amid rising input and various unforeseen costs. The increase will only exacerbate their pain.
 "It would also lead to high inflation," he said.
The FBCCI President, however, said that the hike was amenable if the government would ensure uninterrupted power supply.
He also expressed dismay at the government move to hike power and gas tariffs in regular intervals saying such measures are leading the investors in disarray.  "Local and foreign investors need a sustainable and long-term energy pricing policy.  But the government is fixing the energy prices on adhoc-basis which is wrecking investors confidence," said Mohiuddin.
"Industries have to bear the unforeseen costs due to latest hike in power tariff," EAB (The Exporters Association of Bangladesh) President Abdus Salam Murshedy told The New Nation.
He said, the existing tariffs are already high if we take the recent fall in global oil prices into consideration. Instead of raising, the government should slash electricity tariff to pass the benefit of falling oil prices to local consumers.
 "The export sector was already facing multiple internal and external challenges and the latest increase in power tariffs will further aggravate their problems," said Murshedy.
He said it would have an adverse impact on their competitiveness, hence, will affect exports.
The EAB President, however, urged the government to review the decision of electricity tariff hike for the sake of export-oriented industries as well as the economy.
Protesting the tariff hike, Adviser of Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Prof Shamsul Alam said, it is unjustified when the government had options to cut the electricity prices.
 "The government has to give relief to the people by overhauling electricity tariffs in line with the falling oil prices. But, instead of this, it goes for another hike putting further pressure on them," he added.
He said the latest hike in power tariff would put additional burden on the common people, especially at a time of rising prices of essential.  "It will fuel inflation and put an adverse impact on the national economy," he added.
CAB earlier proposed reducing the power tariff taking different measures.  "The electricity bill is going to burn a huge hole in the pocket," said Monir Hossain, a resident of Tikatuli area in Dhaka while reacting the latest power tariff hike.
Another resident, Parveen Akhtar, said: "It has become quite hard to cope with rising prices of grocery items. Inflation is going up. Power hike would make it worse."

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