Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday hinted at increasing petroleum prices but did not say when.
After a meeting with an IMF delegation, the minister said, “We have discussed that it (a raise in petroleum prices) has to be done at a proper time, but we have not yet told them what the proper time is.”
Muhith also said, “We feel winter is a good time (for increasing petroleum prices).”
Earlier the International Monetary Fund had suggested the government increase petroleum prices by Tk 10 per litre within December to reduce subsidy.
The IMF team has been continuing talks with the government since November 27 on the implementation status of various conditions tagged with the release of its second instalment -- $140 million -- of a $1-billion loan.
Muhith also said he had talks with the IMF mission about cutting subsidy. The government has been trying to introduce an automatic pricing formula for fuel.
The minister said the government is working to reduce subsidy on fertiliser.
Muhith said he is hopeful of getting the second instalment by January though it was scheduled to be released in November.
The minister said though there are some differences of opinion regarding the amendment to the Banking Companies Act, there is not any big hurdle to getting the loan.
Meanwhile, an Indian delegation led by its Commerce Secretary SR Rao met the finance minister and alleged that some Bangladeshi banks have not been making payment for many letters of credit (LC) for the last three years.
Muhith said defaulted payment against LC is harmful for any country. He has assured the Indian team that he would talk with the concerned authorities on the issue.
Muhith said the Indian team has also raised the issue of giving transit. He told the team that the facilities have to be improved before implementing transit.