Budget announcement makes essential cooking ingredient prices go up, traders say
After the proposed budget was announced for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, the prices of essential cooking ingredients such as edible oil, onions, rice and eggs shot up.
Visiting several kitchen markets in the capital, including Karwan Bazar, Segunbagicha, Shantinagar, Rampura and Hatirpool on Saturday, it was found that prices of the said items were up despite being in more than adequate supply.
Consumers alleged that due to negligence in market monitoring, a section of unscrupulous traders increased the prices of the commodities.
Per litre edible oil of various brands was being sold from Tk145-160. Five litre in bottles sold for Tk650-720.
Loose soybean oil sold in retail for Tk125-130 per litre, while palm super soybean oil sold from Tk114-116 a litre.
The government had set the maximum price of edible oil at Tk153 for bottled ones, and Tk112 per litre for palm super.
Earlier, after price hike in the international market, edible oil importers pleaded with the Ministry of Commerce for adjusting its price, upon which prices changed at least four times in the last two months.
The last time prices were fixed for edible oil was May 27.
Although the Bangladesh Vegetable Oil Refiners and Vegetable Manufacturers Association said in a statement that the price of soybean oil has been increased by Tk9 per litre, in fact they increased it by Tk12.
Earlier, the fixed price of bottled soybean was Tk141 per litre. In theory, they were supposed to sell it at Tk150 per litre, but were found selling for Tk153 a litre.
In a proposal sent to the Commerce Ministry before raising prices, the traders' association said 95% of the country's demand for edible oil was imported from abroad. And the price of edible oil in the international market is going up. But soybean oil prices in the country have risen comparatively less.
Other prices soar
In the last one week, the price of onions has gone up by Tk10-15 per kilogram (kg), as local onions sell for Tk50-60 and imported onions Tk50-55 per kg.
Rice prices also shot up, as Miniket has been sold at Tk75 per kg, which was sold last week at Tk60 a kilo.
In Mohammadpur Town Hall kitchen market, its wholesalers said the price of rice increased by a maximum of Tk200 per sack (50 kg) at the mill gates.
As a result, the wholesale and retail markets have been affected by the price hike.
Miniket is being sold at Tk2,700 per bag which was sold at Tk2,500 last week.
BR-28 is selling Tk2,150 per sack, which was Tk2,050 per sack last week.
Swarna coarse rice was selling for Tk2,100, which was Tk2,000 last week.
Four pieces of eggs are being sold at Tk32-33 instead of Tk30 last week.
Besides, the price of flour also increased by Tk2-4 per kg.
The open variety sold for Tk35-40 per kg after an increase by Tk4 per kilo, while the packed ones sold from Tk42-46 per kg, up by Tk2.
Rasel Ahmed, an edible oil retailer at Hatirpool, said: “We have no control over the price. Dealers and companies fix those. We only sell at a price they fix.”
Rajib Saha, a consumer, lamented that everything operated normally despite the lockdown. But traders still blame supply disruption for high prices.
Md Shahjalal, blamed traders for using the national budget as an excuse to hike essential items' prices.
According to the Trading Corporation Bangladesh(TCB), the price of rice has increased by 0.82% per kg in a week.
Besides, the price of local onions increased by 26.44% per kg and imported onions by 31.2%.
Loose soybean prices rose by 2% per litre and five-litre bottled soybeans rose by 3.79% in a week.
Lentil pulses per kg increased by 2.38%, imported garlic by 4%, domestic ginger by 10%, dried chillies by 10.53%, cinnamon by 1.25% and cloves by 11.11%.