Ramadan commodity prices shoot up belying govt’s assurances

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:00, May 08,2019

 
 

A trader weighs aubergines at a kitchen market in Dhaka on Tuesday, the first day of Ramadan, the fasting month for the Muslims. The prices of essential commodities shot up in the city markets on the day despite the government’s repeated assurances that the commodity prices would remain stable during Ramadan. — New Age photo

The prices of essential commodities shot up in the Dhaka city markets on Tuesday, the first day of Ramadan, the fasting month for the Muslims, despite the government’s repeated assurances to the contrary.
Vegetable prices witnessed a sharp rise on the day and aubergine price reached up to Tk 100 a kilogram in the city markets.
The prices of aubergine almost doubled on the day as the item was sold for Tk 40-60 a kg on Monday in the city’s kitchen markets.
The prices of broiler chicken, fish, beef, dates and garlic also increased in the city on Tuesday.
Consumers expressed their dissatisfaction over the sharp rise in commodity prices on the first day of Ramadan.
‘It becomes a trend that traders will increase the prices of essential commodities on their own will in every Ramadan and the government will give assurances that stock is sufficient and prices will not increase,’ said Gulshan Ara, a private-service holder.
She blamed lack of government monitoring in the market for the sharp rise in the commodity prices before and in Ramandan and said that the government always protected the interest of businesspeople not consumer rights.
The price of broiler chicken increased by Tk 20 a kg and the item was selling for Tk 165-170 a kg in the city markets and locally bred hens were selling for Tk 500-550 a kg.
Beef price increased by Tk 50-60 a kg and the item was selling for Tk 525-600 a kg in the city markets while mutton was selling for Tk 750-800 a kg. Most of the traders in the city were not complying with the red meat prices set by Dhaka South City Corporation.
DSCC on Monday set the maximum price of local beef at Tk 525 a kg and mutton at Tk 750 a kg for Ramadan.
The prices of fish increased by Tk 40-50 a kg on Tuesday.
Rohita was selling for Tk 300-450 a kg and Katla for Tk 300-400 a kg, depending on their size and quality.
Pangas was selling for Tk 160-210 a kg and Tilapia for Tk 160-200 a kg.
The prices of garlic increased by Tk 10 a kg and the local variety of garlic was selling for Tk 70-90 a kg while the item imported from China was retailing at Tk 120 a kg.
Garlic imported from India was selling for Tk 100-110 a kg.
Prices of most of the vegetables increased in the city market on Tuesday.
Papaya was selling for Tk 50-60 a kg, bitter gourds for Tk 60 a kg, bottle gourds for Tk 60-70 apiece, cucumber for Tk 40-60 a kg and tomatoes for Tk 40-50 a kg.
Green chilli was selling for Tk 60-80 a kg on the day.
The local variety of onions was selling for Tk 30-35 a kg while the imported onions were retailing at Tk 28-30 a kg on Tuesday.
Potatoes were selling for Tk 18-20 a kg in the city’s kitchen markets.
Ginger prices also remained high and its local variety was selling for Tk 100-120 a kg and the imported variety for Tk 120-140 a kg.
Refined and imported sugar was selling for Tk 55-60 a kg, while the locally produced sugar was selling for Tk 70 a kg in most of the Dhaka city markets on Tuesday.
Prices of dates increased by Tk 50-100 a kg and the item was selling for Tk 150-400 a kg depending on quality.
Puffed rice was selling for Tk 60-120 a kg while flaked rice for Tk 60-70 a kg while gram was selling for Tk 80-90 a kg.
Commerce minister Tipu Munshi in the last week of March sat with importers, wholesalers and retailers to review the situation of import, stock and prices of essential commodities before Ramadan.
At the meeting, the commerce minister said that the prices of commodities would not increase 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 increasing from the first week of April.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on April 3 also requested the businesses not to raise the prices of essential commodities including sugar and edible oil during Ramadan.
Tipu Munshi on April 30 again assured that the prices of commodities would not increase due to Ramadan as the stock of essentials was higher than demand.
Despite the increase in commodity prices, the minister on the day expressed his satisfaction saying that the prices remained lower than that in the same period of last year.

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