Despite govt fixing rate
Prices of both packaged and unpackaged sugar have continued to increase since the beginning of this month.
Packaged sugar is currently being sold at Tk84-86 per kg and unpackaged sugar is being sold at Tk81-82, despite the government fixing prices on September 9 after a discussion with the mill owners.
The government fixed unpackaged sugar prices at Tk74 per kg while the price of packaged sugar was fixed at Tk75.
The essential commodity was selling between Tk60 and Tk65 per kg at the beginning of the year, but started going up in August.
Matiur Rahman, a sugar vendor from Mohammadpur, said: “Even though the price has been fixed by the government, the millers and companies are selling at a higher price.”
At present, the retail price for sugar is Tk80 to Tk86 depending on the brand. Fresh sugar is being sold at Tk84, Teer sugar at Tk86, and ACI sugar at Tk80 per kg.
“We are selling at the price set by dealers. Due to a rise in global sugar prices, the government’s fixed price will take some time to come into effect,” said Sagor Hossain, a vendor from Hatirpool kitchen market.
Other vendors shared a similar sentiment, saying they still have to pay higher prices to the distributors.
According to them, they are currently selling it with a minimum margin from the dealers’ price.
A wholesaler from Karwan Bazar, seeking anonymity, said: “The companies are not selling sugar at the fixed prices yet. The distributors are also holding on to the stocks to manipulate the market price. ”
Abul Bashar, a customer from old Dhaka, said sugar prices keep going up, even last week it was Tk75 per kg and now the same company is charging Tk86 without a clear reason.
“The same happened earlier with edible oil, now sugar prices have also increased similarly. The government only fixes the prices but the companies do not seem to listen,” said another customer from Azimpur.
SM Nazer Hossain, vice-president of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), said: “While the government is pushing for self-sufficiency in essential commodities, the sugar market has become 100% import-dependent. Almost half of the country's sugar mills have closed, so the government does not have stocks.
“Due to this, the price of the essential commodity has also become uncontrollable and is going beyond the reach of ordinary consumers,” he added.
He also noted that now it depends on the importers and traders as they fix the supply and hence prices.
According to the Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation (BSFIC), the local mills have produced only 82,000 tonnes of sugar in the last 2019-20 season.
But the country's market demand for sugar is around 1.8 million tons per year.
As the state-owned sugar mills are closed, more than 90% of the country's sugar demand is met by imported sugar.
Bangladesh Sugar Dealer Business Association member Mostafijur Hossain said sugar price increased as most of it is imported as raw sugar, which is later refined and sold.
“Many of our sugar mills are currently not operational due to lack of policy support,” he added.
“On the other hand, the sugar market in the country is dependent on the global market and that is why when the price goes up in the international market, the same happens locally,” he further said.
Globally, the price of raw sugar now stands at above $430 per ton against $340 per ton in February.