He advised businessmen to do this out of their sense of social responsibility
Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Mayor Mohammad Sayeed Khokon has urged businessmen to sell onions for the next two weeks without profits.
He made the statement during a view-exchange meeting with businessmen at the Nagar Bhaban in Dhaka on Tuesday.
To the businessmen, the mayor said: "For some reason, prices of onions have gone beyond the purchasing power [of general people]. Most of you [businessman] can make profits by selling products besides onions."
Advising the businessmen to fulfill their social responsibilities, Mayor Khokon requested everyone to sell onions at cost price for the next two weeks.
He explained that if everyone follows through his advice then the prices of onions can be brought under control.
DSCC Chief Revenue Officer Yusuf Ali Sardar gave the welcome speech at the meeting. DSCC Chief Executive Officer Shah Imdadul Haque, and President of Dhaka Trade Center South Shop Owners Association Humayun Kabir Molla, among other business leaders, also spoke on the occasion.
At the meeting, businessman demanded a reduction in the percentage of tax at source from their trade licenses.
General Secretary of the Market Traders Association Federation under Dhaka South City Corporation, Nazmul Huda said: "Tax and trade license fees have been higher than usual. Therefore, we want you to be aware of our problems and hope that you solve them."
Expressing solidarity with the demands of the businessmen, Mayor Khokon assured then saying that he will speak to government officials concerned in this regard.
How did onion prices soar?
On September 29, the Indian government banned the export of onion with immediate effect until further order to improve their domestic availability of onions.
The move came after the Indian government fixed the minimum export price of onion recently to rein in soaring prices in their domestic market. Since then, onion prices in Bangladesh markets have been skyrocketing.
To deal with the undesired situation, the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) started selling onion from early October through the open market sale (OMS) scheme at various points across the capital.
According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) data, on October 15, the price of onion was at Tk80-95 per kg; the price rose to Tk90-100 per kg on October 23; the price rose to Tk120-130 on October 31.
On November 12, Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun claimed in parliament that the onion price came under control at a time when the key cooking ingredient’s price went beyond the purchasing capacity of the general people.
Meanwhile, S Alam Group is set to import onions from Egypt. The first consignment of onion from would be flown to Bangladesh on November 19, the Ministry of Commerce said on Saturday.
On November 14, the local variety of onion retailed for Tk210-220 per kg, imported onion from Myanmar sold for Tk180-200, onion imported from Turkey sold for Tk160-170 at Malibagh, Shantinagar and Shukrabad kitchen markets. Prices rose by as high as Tk40-50 in a single day.
Wholesale onion traders blamed supply shortage and inclement weather for the latest bout of onion price hike.
Over the week, prices of onion in Dhaka's retail kitchen markets soared to record Tk240-250 per kg, with the one imported from Myanmar selling for Tk230-240 per kg.
A writ petition was filed with the High Court on Sunday seeking its order to find and investigate those involved in the onion price crisis.
Prices surged as a section of unscrupulous traders have taken advantage of lax monitoring of the government and kept pushing up the price of the key cooking ingredient, alleged consumers and traders.