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Dhaka Tribune

TCB sales rise 12-folds

The volatility of essential commodity prices and weakness in market monitoring made the TCB an invaluable option for low-income families

Update : 30 Aug 2022, 05:24 PM

Sales of the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) increased over the last six years, reflecting a rise in demand for essential commodities at subsidized prices.

The volatility of essential commodity prices and weakness in market monitoring made the TCB an invaluable option for low-income families.

The state-owned corporation's sales in the market for essential commodities, namely edible oil, sugar, onion and lentils, grew to 239,000 tonnes in FY22.

This is about 12 times higher than what it was in FY17, when it sold 20,500 tonnes of various essential goods, TCB data showed.

Having begun its journey in 1972 with the aim of supplying essential commodities and industrial raw materials at subsidized rates, the TCB's role was downsized in the 1980s as a part of the government's move to reduce the state's role in market activities.

However, the current government has strengthened the TCB in order to increase the state's capacity to contain market prices and provide low-income people with access to essential commodities at affordable prices.

TCB's overall sales so far this fiscal year are estimated to be 275,000 tonnes, as per data from the Finance Ministry.

The increased operations is taking place at a time when soaring consumer prices have hit low and fixed-income households, resulting in long queues behind the TCB's open market sales trucks every day.

Inflation, a measure of change in the prices of commodities and services, stood at 7.48% in July while food inflation was 8.19% at the same time, down slightly from a multi-year high of 8.37% the previous month, according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.

But despite registering overall growth in sales volume, the state corporation's activities remain chiefly concentrated on the month of Ramadan.

The TCB's operating loss from selling commodities grew 181% year-on-year to Tk1,182 crore in FY22 from Tk420 crore the previous year, as per finance ministry data.

The TCB's operating losses are forecasted to increase to Tk1,289 crore in the current fiscal year.

Accordingly, the corporation's net loss, which was Tk302 crore in FY21, is likely to increase to Tk1,262 crore during the ongoing fiscal year.

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