Energy crisis deepens, Bangladesh to reduce working hours for schools, banks

Due to worries over rising gasoline prices and the effects of the Ukraine war, schools in Bangladesh will be closed an additional day every week in addition to cutting the length of their workdays by one hour.

The shortened hours start on Wednesday. Most schools in Bangladesh are closed on Saturdays, but as of this week, they will also be closed on Fridays, according to Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam.

He claimed that while private offices would be free to determine their own schedules, government and banking institutions would reduce their workdays from eight to seven hours.

The conflict in Ukraine has disrupted supplies, which has prompted oil and food costs to skyrocket globally.

Since the government shut down all diesel-powered power facilities, the nation has seen more frequent power outages, which has resulted in a 1,000 megawatt reduction in daily electricity production.

Bangladesh’s foreign exchange holdings are now only about $40 billion.

In recent weeks, Bangladesh has taken steps to reduce the strain on its shrinking foreign exchange reserves. Fuel costs increased by more than 50% last month. According to the government, it is looking into possibilities for a unique arrangement to obtain cheaper petroleum from Russia.

However, in order to support the $416 billion economy of the nation, which has been expanding quickly over the past ten years, officials have committed to keep supplying power to industrial zones.

After Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Bangladesh requested an undetermined loan from the International Monetary Fund in July, becoming the third government in South Asia to do so recently.

Bangladesh is not in a crisis, according to Rahul Anand, division chief in the Asia and Pacific Department of the IMF, who stated this during a recent consultation. Additionally, Bangladesh’s external position is “quite different from numerous countries in the region.”

The Dhaka-based media quoted him as saying, “Bangladesh has a low danger of debt crisis and is significantly different from Sri Lanka.”

The administration acknowledged that the decision has received criticism but insisted that it is vital to reduce losses given the growing global fuel prices. In response to recent minor street demonstrations against price hikes, the administration said that domestic prices will be reduced if global prices began to decline.

The opposition in the nation has charged the administration of failing to end energy sector losses and curtail corruption.

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