The government today warned that tough action will be taken against profiteers and commodity price manipulators, as the market has an adequate supply of basic necessities.
Secretary of Commerce Tapan Kanti Ghosh announced the warning during a press conference at his secretariat in Dhaka.
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The Ministry of Commerce convened a meeting involving importers, distributors, wholesalers, millers and leaders of chambers of commerce, including the umbrella trading body the Bangladesh Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, in as a result of the rise in the prices of certain commodities.
Over the past almost two months, prices of mainly three widely consumed commodities, including rice, sugar and edible oil, have increased abnormally in local markets.
Soybean oil was sold at market prices between Tk 140 and Tk 150 per liter and sugar 75-80 Tk per kg, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.
“We have also noticed that the prices of these three commodities have increased in the local markets. However, the prices of sugar and edible oil have increased in the local markets due to the escalation of the prices of the two on international markets, because we depend on imports of these two consumables, ”Ghosh said, responding to an avalanche of questions from reporters.
Regarding the price of rice, the secretary said that his ministry had already issued permits to import 7.5 tons of lakh rice by different companies to control its skyrocketing price in local markets.
The government also reduced the tariff to 25 percent from 62 percent on the import of rice mainly to reduce the price of the staple food in local markets, the secretary also said.
However, during the press conference, the secretary refused to disclose the calculation of the tariff commission price of the three products citing sensitive information.
It was a ministry stocktaking meeting with businessmen. Thus, commodity prices were not fixed here at this meeting.
“We are observing the situation of prices, supply, imports and demand for commodities in the markets,” the secretary also said.
For example, the state-owned Trading Corporation of Bangladesh has increased its operations and sales by a factor of two and a half from last year to impact soaring commodity prices, Ghosh said.