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Dhaka Tribune

Irrational profiteering on essentials prompts Tofail to warn traders

Update : 16 Nov 2014, 06:08 PM

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed has urged the traders and businessmen not to make extra profit from selling the essential commodities at higher prices.

“Though the government does not fix the prices of the essentials in the age of free market economy, it will, however, take stern measures to stop manipulation and price volatility in the market,” Tofail told the reporters yesterday, after a meeting of the national committee on storage, price situation and overall market condition of the essential commodities, held at the commerce ministry in the capital.

Presided over by Senior Commerce Secretary Hedayetullah Al Mamoon, ndc, the meeting was attended, among others, by the importers of different essential items, producers, distributors and wholesalers.

“The job of the commerce minister is to sit with the businessmen to solve their problems facing in doing their business and strongly monitor the market, so the prices of essentials do not go beyond the reach of the common people,” said Tofail.

In response to a question, commerce minister said: “We are now examining Bangladesh Tariff Commission (BTC) report over the allegation that edible oil importers are making extra profit.”

According BTC report, the cost per litre of soybean oil is only Tk86 while it is being sold at Tk140 per litre.

In this regard, Tofail Ahmed said BTC would re-exam the production cost of per liter soybean and prices of plastic bottles and extra price should not be imposed on the essential soybean oil as well. He also said prices of edible oil, sugar, wheat and flour are now stable in the market.

“We are planning to increase the duties on sugar import as a total of 1,41,000 MT sugar stored in government sugar mills. Besides, a total of 3 lakh MT sugar stored at industry ministry,” he also added.

City Group Chairman Fazlul Rahman urged the minister to reduce the existing 3-tier tax system to a single stage one as saying, “Country’s businessmen are paying tax in three-tier but it should be fixed at a single stage.” In response the commerce minister said, “We will inform the matter to the finance minister”. 

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