Dhaka: The government will encourage consumption of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) instead of piped natural gas to ease the mounting gas crisis across the country.
According to sources the energy ministry has already asked the LPG firms to increase their import of LPG to meet the gross mismatch between the demand for, supply of, piped gas, especially in households for cooking and light engineering workshops.
The government decision to encourage LPG use has come at a time when gas crisis turned acute and the urban residents are struggling for cooking due to insufficient gas supplies and drastic fall in gas pressure.
Officials said the government is also actively considering reduction of duties and taxes on import of LPG and LPG cylinders to boost import and expand its use to ease the mounting gas crisis.
The import duty on LPG is around nine per cent, which includes five per cent customs duty, three per cent AIT and one per cent PSI charge.
Currently the country consumes around 100,000 tonnes of LPG every year, mostly by the urban people in district towns and light engineering workshops.
The state-owned LPG producer supplies 20 per cent of the market need and private players import the remaining 80 per cent.
LPG marketing in Bangladesh was pioneered by state-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) in the late 1970s, but with the increasing demand in the mid-1990s the government allowed LPG imports and permitted private entrepreneurs to invest in LPG import, storage and bottling facilities.
BPCs subsidiary, Eastern Refinery Ltd and natural gas fractionation plant at Kailashtila in Sylhet are the source of indigenous availability of LPG in Bangladesh from where the combined output is around 20,000 tonnes per annum.
A number of private firms are now engaged in marketing of LPG in Bangladesh that include Totalgaz, Bashundhara, Kleenheat, Jamuna Spacetech and BOC.