Prices of essential commodities continued to increase in the city for past one month belying the government assurance that prices would not increase before Ramadan, beginning next week.
The sale of Ramadan essentials, including sugar, red lentil and soya bean oil, at fare prices through Trading Corporation of Bangladesh also failed to arrest the price hike.
Market experts termed the price hike of essential commodities illogical and urged the government to strengthen market monitoring.
The commerce minister, Tipu Munshi, in the last week of March sat with importers, wholesalers and retailers to review the scenario of import, stock and prices of essential commodities before Ramadan.
In the meeting, the commerce minister said that the prices of commodities would not be increased in Ramadan as the stock of essentials was higher than the demand.
Although, traders assured the meeting that they would not increase commodity prices during Ramadan, the wholesale and retail prices of daily essentials, including sugar, onion, and garlic, started to increase from the first week of April.
Traders continued to increase the prices despite the prime minister’s request on April 3 not to raise the prices of essential commodities, including sugar and edible oil, during Ramadan,
Price of sugar increased by Tk 8 a kilogram in the past one month and the refined and imported sugar was selling for Tk 60 a kg, while the locally produced sugar was selling for Tk 70 a kg in most of the Dhaka city markets.
Prices of garlic increased by Tk 10 a kg in the same period and the item imported from China was retailing for Tk 110-120 a kg while the local variety was selling for Tk 70-80 a kg. Garlic imported from India was selling for Tk 90-100 a kg.
Following the traders’ assurance, price of onion increased by Tk 8-10 a kg in the capital.
The local variety of onions was selling for Tk 30-35 a kg while the imported onions were retailing for Tk 30 a kg.
Price of potatoes increased by Tk 5 a kg to Tk 20 a kg while price of ginger increased by Tk 20 a kg and its local variety was selling for Tk 110-120 a kg and the imported variety for Tk 120-140 a kg.
Price of beef increased by Tk 70-90 a kg in the past two months and it was selling for Tk 520-570 a kg in Dhaka.
Most of the vegetables were selling between Tk 60-80 a kg for the past one month.
‘I think the sudden price hike of essential commodities before Ramadan is not logical,’ Consumers Association of Bangladesh president Ghulam Rahman told New Age on Tuesday.
He said that the government monitoring of the market should be increased to check unusual price hike of daily essentials.
Ghulam Rahman also said that the government would need to ensure that no supply disruption took place in the market.
He urged the government to take legal action against dishonest traders to control price of commodities in Ramadan.
‘It is true that prices of few items, including sugar and onion, a little bit increased but prices of the items are still lower than that of the past year,’ commerce minister Tipu Munshi said on Tuesday.
The ministry remains vigilant and it is trying to know the reasons of price hike, he told a press conference on World Consumer Rights Day at the ministry.
The commerce minister suggested consumers not to buy commodities at large quantity as the supply of essentials was sufficient.
‘There is a tradition among our people to buy products in large quantity in fear of price hike before Ramadan. When many people buy large quantity of products, it creates high demand at a time and some dishonest business people take advantage,’ Tipu Munshi said.
He also said that the price of beef increased excessively in the city and the ministry would discuss with two Dhaka city corporations in this regards to set a reasonable price of the item in Ramadan.
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