Commodity Price Manipulators Face Strict Action

Commerce Secretary Warns Against Storing Goods To Make Extra Profits

Secretary of Commerce Tapan Kanti Ghosh said on Wednesday that strict action would be taken against deceptive traders if they tried to source goods for additional profit.

Rising prices of basic necessities in the international market have had an impact on the Bangladeshi market, although there is no shortage at the moment, he added at a press conference. at its secretariat in the capital.

The senior official mentioned that the market surveillance system will be strengthened at district and upazila level to maintain stability in stocks, supply and prices of daily commodities.

Ghosh explained that the price of edible oil and sugar has increased in the market.

But traders took this opportunity to push up the prices of many products, he said, adding that the Commerce Ministry was strictly monitoring the market.

Read also – Prices of basic necessities remain high

“We will expand the supervision of the district and upazila committees. Currently, we have doubled TCB operations and added more items to the cart. Other products, including onions, will be sold from next month. Measures are also underway on imports, ”he said.

Additional Trade Secretary AHM Safiquzzaman said the retail price of sugar per kg will remain between Tk 75 and 80 for now.

And the price of edible oil will remain the same, he added.

“Even if the price increases in the international market, this will be considered later,” he also said.

The sudden rise in the prices of flour, lentils and oil in the commodity market has caused panic among consumers.

The price of sugar increased by 10-12 Tk per kg, the prices of flour increased per kg by 4-7 Tk, and the price of lentils also increased by 7-9 Tk per kg.

Sugar is currently sold at 75-84 Tk per kg, flour at 33-39 Tk per kg and lentils at 74-80 Tk per kg.

A flour seller, wishing to remain anonymous, said: “The wholesalers have enough sugar and flour in stock. International prices may have increased, but there is no shortage.

He also said that after the lockdown, the price of flour was 1,500 to 1,600 Tk per bag (50 kg). Now it has become 1,880-1,980 Tk.

Mohammad Murad, an employee of a private bank in old Dhaka, said: “Due to my diabetes, my doctor prescribed me to eat bread made from whole wheat flour. Now I see prices have increased by 7-8 Tk per kg – this is worrying for us in the midst of the pandemic. “

Rickshaw puller Babar Ahmed said: “We poor people have nothing to do, we have no fixed income. Previously, rice prices skyrocketed, now flour, sugar, lentils and oil. Now I can’t even dare to enter the kitchen market anymore, TCB trucks are our only option. “

The government should provide relief to low-income people, he added.

Another consumer, Kiran Das, said when the strict lockdown was extended, prices for sugar, flour and lentils were flat, only edible oil prices were up.

Read also – The price of retail sugar is rising

“Now the lentils have grown to 82 Tk per kg. Rice is also more expensive by 7-8 Tk per kg, this week the price of Sonali chicken also increased by 10 Tk. For the rich, commodity prices are not a problem, but for the middle class, a slight change is a huge issue because of our fixed incomes, ”he added.

Bangladesh Consumers Association (CAB) vice-president SM Nazer Hossain told Dhaka Tribune: “Due to lack of market surveillance and control, a limited number of importers are accumulating additional problems in citing various issues.

“It is true that after the withdrawal of containment, the demand for raw materials increased. So when international prices go down, they don’t even lower the prices, and the current products in the market were imported earlier at an old price. But then why are they charging a new price? “

Local sugar factories have a huge amount of unsold sugar, a proper marketing and distribution channel can solve the sugar price problem, he added.

According to Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation (BSFIC), local factories produced only 82,000 tonnes of sugar in the last fiscal year 2019-2020.

The country’s market demand for sugar is 1.8 million tonnes per year. The sugar currently supplied by the company represents only 4.5% of market demand.

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