Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday stressed the need for gradual withdrawal of subsidies, particularly from electricity and gas. "The subsidy is a serious matter. We must get out of the system," said Planning Minister MA Mannan quoting the PM as saying at the meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec).
The prime minister, who is also chair of the Ecnec, presided over the meeting, joining it virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban, UNB reports.
Other ministers and officials concerned attended the virtual event from the NEC conference room.
Sheikh Hasina talked about the subsidy during the discussion on an electricity project, said the planning minister while briefing the reporters after the meeting.
She said a huge subsidy is provided now. "We'll have to come out of the subsidy. The subsidy is not a just thing…. Some people are getting it (subsidy) and some others are paying for it," she was quoted as telling the meeting. The PM asked the authorities concerned to work out a strategy to come out of the subsidy system gradually. Replying to a question, State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam said no discussion was held over agricultural subsidy in the meeting. "The agricultural subsidy will continue as it will help increase production," he said.
"The prime minister talked about electricity and gas subsidies as these are used not only by the poor but also by industries," he said.
Sheikh Hasina said many people run air conditioners using electricity, which is expensive. Electricity is wasted due to lack of sincerity, she said.
She asked to reduce the subsidy gradually in case of luxurious use of electricity. "The subsidy should be given to the right places like slum communities, farmers and poor," the PM was quoted as saying.