'We have not included any component in the budget of FY2019-20 that may cause prices of essential commodities to spiral'
Prices of most essential commodities remained unchanged over the weekend, despite the government on Thursday proposing increased import duty on many products, including edible oil, powdered milk and sugar, for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal had assured the people that there would be no reason for price hikes of essentials while presenting the national budget in the parliament on Thursday.
“We have not included any component in the budget of FY2019-20 that may cause prices of essential commodities to spiral,” he remarked in his budget speech.
The finance minister proposed changes in import duties of different products, which will subsequently result in increase or decrease in their prices.
Prices of commodities and services set to go up include smart phones and mobile phone services, ceramics, cigarettes, helicopter rental, plastic products, aluminium products, cooking oil, medicines, marriage media centres, ice cream, vehicle registration, route permit and fitness certificate of vehicles, astrology, drama, movie, handmade confectioneries, milk, sugar, ovens, broilers, grills, cosmetics and body sprays.
Prices of commodities that will likely go down include gold, lightning arresters, firefighting equipment, building bricks, cancer-related medicines, coco substrate and coco pellets used in home gardening, and electric fans.
Kitchen market review
Traders at some major commodity markets in Dhaka on Friday claimed that the high prices of products were already prevalent during Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr, and did not go up specifically after Thursday's budget announcement.
Abdur Rahman, a trader in the capital's Karwan Bazar, told Dhaka Tribune: "No prices have gone up after Thursday's budget, commodities are being sold at existing prices."
But the prices may hike after the budget is finally approved, he observed.
Another trader, Rahim Sheikh, said: “Ginger and garlic prices remain unchanged, at Tk130 and Tk140 per kg respectively.”
Onion seller Yeasin Mullah said, “After Eid, the price of Indian onions rose to Tk30, but came down three days ago to Tk27 per kg, while local onions were sold at Tk24 to Tk25 per kg.”
He also said Chinese ginger was sold at Tk90 to Tk100 during Ramadan.
"Generally, after Eid, prices increase due to low supply in the market, as well as a surge in demand ahead of Eid-ul Adha. The proposed budget has no influence on the increase in commodity prices.”