LPG cost in Dhaka is a far cry from monthly readjustment goal to ensure fair price

The authorities in April began readjusting the prices of liquefied petroleum gas or LPG every month in a bid to rein in an unrestrained market and they cut the prices for December after increasing them in the past five months.

But the picture has not changed in Dhaka, where the traders have continued charging higher than the fixed rates after the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission or BERC lowered the price of LPG, including VAT, to Tk 102.32 per kg, a decrease of 6.49 percent.

Accordingly, the price of LPG came down by Tk 85 to Tk 1,228 per 12 kg cylinder, starting on Friday. But dealers and distributors in the capital on Friday said they were selling LPG at Tk 1,250 to Tk 1,300 per cylinder.

Jamal Hossain, a dealer for Navana LPG in Agargaon, said they had cut down on purchase on being alerted by the company that the prices would go down. He claimed he was selling LPG at the cheapest rate - Tk 1,250 per cylinder - while the BERC-fixed rate is Tk 1,228. Jamal sold LPG at Tk 1,350 per cylinder in November against a BERC-fixed rate of Tk 1,313.

Another supplier in the same area, Habib Ullah said they were conceding Tk 50 to Tk 100 in losses by selling Unigas LPG at Tk 1,250 per cylinder and Bashundhara LPG at Tk 1,300.

Arman Hossain, the manager of a restaurant in Mirpur, said they bought LPG this month at Tk 100 lower than they had in November. 

Zahid Hossain, a distributor for Total Gas, said the cost of a cylinder reaching his shop totals Tk 1,190, but he sells it at Tk 1,300 because he pays the cost of transporting and setting up the cylinder at customer’s house or restaurant. He is also selling BM Energy LPG at Tk 1,200 per cylinder, lower than other companies’ gas because BM offers incentives on sales.

LPG Owners Association President Azam J Chowdhury did not take calls for comments.

Total Gas General Manager Sabur Hossain declined comment on the higher-than-fixed prices of LPG in Dhaka.

In many other districts, the prices of LPG have come down by up to Tk 100 per cylinder.

Dewan Zobayer Ahmed, the owner of Dewan Petrol Pump in Naogaon, said the refuelling station is selling Bashundhara LPG at Tk 1,200 per cylinder and Omera LPG at Tk 1,170.

The BERC has been setting the price of LPG for every month by adjusting to the prices of propane and butane of Saudi Aramco. The price was lowered in the first two months and then raised every month until December.

Customers say the fixed prices have not been implemented at the end user level.

BERC Chairman Abdul Jalil earlier maintained the implementation of the price adjustment is not up to the BERC alone, but requires the cooperation of all.

The BERC also urged people to file complaints so that the authorities can act against particular dealers or distributors.

Jalil said the BERC was making a list of the LPG dealers, but all companies submitted the names of their distributors, which has led to complexities in taking action against violation of the fixed prices.

[Additional reporting by Naogaon Correspondent]