Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said prices of imported essential commodities such as edible oil may increase due to hike of US dollar, affecting the living cost of people.
“Prices of imported essential products such as edible oil will increase if the prices of US dollar went up. It will affect the living cost of consumers,” he told journalists after a meeting with Vietnam Ambassador to Bangladesh Tran Van Khoa on Thursday.
“It is unfortunate, but true that the prices of US dollar has suddenly gone up ahead of Ramadan. However, the government has investigated the reason of sudden increase of price sand taken initiative to control the situation,” commerce minister said.
“During the last two days, I talked to Bangladesh Bank governor. He has already taken effective measures. As a result, prices of a US dollar came down to Tk82 from TK84,” Tofail said. He hoped the dollar rate against Taka would came down bellow Tk80 shortly.
As of on Thursday, according to Bangladesh Bank, US dollar was sold at Tk80.13, which was also sold at Tk84 at money exchange and at Tk86 in the curb markets.
“Protection of consumers rights is our duty. That is why the commerce ministry will sit with the country’s business people including retailers on April 30 to discuss the issues so the prices of essential products do not increase,” Tofail said.
The minsters smelt rat that it could be that some of the bank increased the prices of dollars when other banks buy from a certain bank as it doesn’t have enough supply.
Bangladesh has over $32bn worth of foreign exchange reserves. It would not bring negative impact on the economy, if the central bank provides $200m to the banks, commerce minister Ahmed.
He argued that if the central bank provides US dollar to the certain bank, there is no chance for price hike.
“I hope that the prices of US dollar will be normal soon as Bangladesh Bank has already provided US dollar to the banks.”
Replying to a question, Tofail Ahmed said the prices of rice would not increase further as “there is enough stock”.
But the prices of rice increased slightly due to the government purchase announcement, which is offering Tk1.5 higher compared to that of the previous year.
Meanwhile, Tran Van Khoa urged the Bangladesh government to renew deals that already expired to reduce trade gap between Bangladesh and Vietnam.
According to the Bangladesh Bank data, bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Vietnam stood at $452m as of fiscal year 2015-16. Bangladesh exported goods of $65m and imported products worth $387m.