Bangladesh takes global cue, to cut fuel prices

Dhaka, October 21:

Bangladesh will cut fuel prices by around 10 per cent over the next week as the cost of crude has more than halved from record highs and amid global recession fears, an official said today.

The country’s energy secretary Mohammad Mohsin said the government would slash the price of diesel, kerosene and petrol ‘by the end of this week or early next week’ in line with falling crude rates in the world market. “The government has already decided to cut the prices of fuel. It could be around 10 per cent,” Mohsin said.

The authorities were forced to hike state-set fuel rates by between 34 and 66 per cent from July 1 this year as oil prices soared. But the cost of crude has plummeted since reaching record highs of $147 a barrel in July, helped by the global financial meltdown pushing the US and top European economies to the brink of recession.

In Bangladesh, the energy secretary said despite the massive fall in oil prices, government would have to subsidise diesel and kerosene, which are used mainly for transpor-tation and farming. The government has initially projected a 100 billion taka ($1.46 billion) oil subsidy in the 2008-09 fiscal year.

“We think the government’s oil subsidy would come down to around 40 billion taka this financial year,” he said.