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Jt action plan to undo price manipulation

Published : 19 Nov 2020 09:49 PM | Updated : 20 Nov 2020 02:18 AM

A joint work plan has been taken to break the unholy nexus of syndicate to control the skyrocketing price of essentials.

The policy-making levels of the government have recently met to devise a way to break the market syndicate. They also discussed elaborately how to earn self-reliance in daily essentials, commerce ministry sources said.

A joint action plan has also been adopted by the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Agriculture, National Board of Revenue and the Central Bank at the meeting.

Under this plan, seven decisions have been made, including the formation of a joint working group by the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Agriculture.

Experts said due to lack of modern storage system, strong syndicates have developed recently to influence the market prices adversely.

The cartels are making mint by manipulating prices at different times, they said adding to curb it.

Ghulam Rahman, president of the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), told Bangladesh Post, the government has indeed taken a good initiative.

If the initiative can be meterialised, it will create competition in the market. If self-reliance can be attained and market competition is created for the products, there will be no syndicate,” he opined.

However, the implementation is not possible by the Ministry of Commerce alone, he said. “We have to work unitedly with the ministries and agencies concerned, stakeholders and farmers,” he added.

We need to ensure adequate stock of essentials for the smooth supply in the market and create competition among businessmen to control syndicate.

However, in the meeting, decisions taken under the joint action plan include setting up of modern storage facilities to store domestic and imported Indian onion during the harvesting season, accurate statistics on essential commodities and cross-checking.

The Ministry of Commerce and Agriculture will implement these decisions.

Besides, it has been decided to give loans to the producers on easy terms, which will be implemented by the Financial Institutions Division of the Ministry of Finance and Bangladesh Bank.

It has also been decided to take necessary steps to discourage onion imports during the harvesting season and to withdraw tariffs during the lean period to ensure fair prices to the farmers. The NBR will make it effective.

Besides, necessary measures will be taken to import, supply and market the products to keep the market normal. It will be implemented jointly by the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Agriculture.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzak, Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Agriculture, Secretary, high official of Ministry of Finance, NBR, Central Bank, National Consumer Rights Department and Bangladesh Competition Commission were present in the meeting.

In the meeting, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said the Commerce and Agriculture Secretaries would work together to form a working group to achieve self-reliance in daily essentials.

Before that, it is necessary to find out the exact statistics of daily essentials and there should be adequate storage system, he added.

He said, “It is possible to build sufficient cold storages in the country. Imported Indian onion as well as domestic onion can be stored during the onion harvesting season.”

Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzak said if the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Agriculture work together, it is possible to keep the prices of daily essentials stable.

“The Department of Agricultural Extension and the local administration will work to ensure that real farmers get loans on easy terms. The district committee has to play a key role in providing agricultural loans,” he added.

Syed Golam Kibria, a member of the National Board of Revenue (NBR), said coordination between demand and supply of daily essentials and fair prices for farmers should be ensured.

Enamul Karim Khan, DGM of Bangladesh Bank, said in the Coronavirus situation, there are some problems in disbursement of loans in the camping system, which will be resolved soon.

Thus, the loan will reach the farmers, he added.

Mofizul Islam, chairman of the Bangladesh Competition Commission, said the country needs to increase onion production as well as formulate supply chain and proper policies.

During the meeting, the Ministry of Agriculture informed it has decided to increase the production of 10 lakh metric tonnes of onion in the next three years to keep the onion market normal.