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Dhaka Tribune

Govt, pvt sector to jointly work to keep prices normal

Importers are under surveillance following the recent hikes in prices of essential commodities, says NBR chairman

Update : 24 Nov 2019, 10:27 PM

The government and the private sector will work jointly to closely monitor and survey the price situation with a view to keeping the prices of essential commodities within the buying capacity of common people.

The decision was made at a discussion “Prevailing situation of production, import, stock, value chain, and pricing of annual demand for essential commodities” organized by Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) in the capital yesterday.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder, Industries Secretary Abdul Halim, and business leaders attended the meeting moderated by FBCCI President Sheikh Fazle Fahim. 

At a press briefing after the program, it was announced that at the meeting businesspeople agreed that prices of essentials would not see any more abnormal hike.

FBCCI President, they would be cautious in future for controlling the price of daily commodities.

He said, “We will try to keep the prices of daily commodities within the buying capacity of the people through proper assessment of products, production and import”

National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan at the briefing said the importers were under surveillance following the recent hikes in prices of essential commodities.

He also warned strict action against the importers who would be found involved in price manipulation.

FBCCI President Sheikh Fazle Fahim said: "We discussed value chain management. We sat with business community so that consumers do not have to suffer for abnormal price hike of essentials."

“We also discussed ways of better management and distribution of essentials,” the FBCCI president said. 

The NBR chairman also said importers of essential foods would enjoy the existing tax benefits. "We are also considering measures to provide support to the consumers," he said.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi reiterated that prices of essentials, which went up, would become normal within 10 days after the local onion produced in current season would hit the market.

“Some 12,000 tonnes of imported onion will reach the Chittagong port on November 29,” he also said.

Tipu Munshi said: “We have to import 25% onion to meet our demand. Of them, 90% is imported from India. But unfortunately India banned onion export to Bangladesh on September 29 which created a problem here.”

Beside, onions imported by ships will hit the market within the next 10 days. The import cost will be Tk32 per kg and when it would reach the market, the retail prices would be Tk60-70, the commerce minister informed. 

Since India put its onion exports on hold on September 29, onion prices have been on the rise in the Bangladesh kitchen market. 

The commerce minister also vented his frustration saying that the India authorities had promised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that onion export would resume but unfortunately India did not keep their words.

Since India stopped onion exports and imports from Myanmar remained stalled for a few days due to Bul Bul, onion prices went up, Tipu Munshi said. 

Last Saturday, local onions were selling as high as Tk250 a kg in the city’s kitchen markets, while onions imported from Myanmar were selling at Tk230-240, breaking all the previous records.

Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder claimed that the rice price did not increase in recent times.

He said: “About 1,459,000 tons of rice and wheat are in stock and 1,113,303 tons are available at state-owned warehouses.” 

He warned against increasing rice prices, saying the country had an adequate stockpile of food grains.

Ten teams were already formed to monitor the market round the clock and wholesale traders were given directives in this regard, he added.

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