Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed on Sunday said the government will award the traders if they rein in the prices of essentials during the month of holy Ramadan.
The minister, however, warned of stern action against those that will try to manipulate the supply and prices of commodities during the period.
Tofail was addressing business leaders at a meeting in his secretariat on Sunday.
The meeting was called to discuss the stocks of essentials compared to the country’s demands ahead of Ramadan.
There is no scope of essentials’ price hike during Ramadan as there are more stocks than demands, the minister said.
“Despite adequate stocks, if the price of a single product goes up, the government will take stern action against the manipulator.”
In his address, Meghna Group of Industries Chairman Mostafa Kamal said: “Production of sugar remains suspended in his refinery due to maintenance work, but it would be okay within a few days and it would not hit the supply chain.”
Fazlur Rahman, chairman of City Group, said the price of sugar increased on the pretext of dollar price hike, but the stock of the item is still higher than the demand.
On the other hand, the suppliers made sure that there are enough stocks of essential commodities and the prices would not go up.
They also called for string monitoring to stop manipulation and artificial crisis in the market.
“The prices of salt increased by Tk400-Tk500 a bag of 50kg in the last one week and there is a gap between the retail price and wholesale price,” said Mohammad Hossain, president of Dhaka New Market Wholesale and Retail Traders Association.
Hossain urged the government to strengthen monitoring on the market.
He said the prices of rice continue to increase as Rice Mill owners squeezed supply in the wake of flash flood.
Nurul Haque, a representative of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), urged the government to stop extortion in trucks and police harassment during the month of Ramadan to ensure smooth supply.
He also urged the transportation authority to arrange special facility so that they can supply good within a short time.
Md Nizam Uddin, secretary to Badamtoli and Babubazar Chaul Arrotdar Samiti, called upon the government to allow import, arguing that there may be shortage of rice due to flood in haor area and some other parts.