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Move to curb prices not fully effective

Published : 23 Feb 2024 10:20 PM

Government measures have led to a decline in the prices of various essentials. 

Last week, the government reduced the edible oil price by Tk 10 per liter, and also cancelled its decision to increase the price of sugar on Thursday. 

However, the price of onions and a few other items keep climbing. According to market information, onion price at the retail level has gone up Tk 10 per kilogram (kg).        

But, traders think that the price will come down when onion imports from India start. At the same time, when local Halikata onions arrive in the market, prices will go down further. 

Meanwhile, traders in Moulvibazar, the capital’s big wholesale market, reported stability in the prices of fasting products, attributing it to normal supply levels. 

During a views exchange meeting on Thursday, General Secretary of Moulvibazar Traders Association Haji Md. Golam Mawla said that there are adequate stocks of daily essentials in the country. 

During the meeting, State Minister for Commerce Ahsanul Islam Titu said that there would be no shortage of products during Ramadan. Measures have been taken to ensure sufficient supply of essentials ahead of Ramadan. 

While the prices of several vegetables, such as long brinjal, beans, and potatoes, have seen a significant reduction, some items like Hali Farm eggs, broiler chickens, desi garlic, native ginger, and lentils have maintained their prices or experienced slight increases. 

However, acknowledging the reality, Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP), a market watchdog agency, said on Monday that they are continuing their drive in the markets. Action is being taken immediately if any irregularity is found, due to which, the prices of some products have started to fall. 

But, the prices of some products have increased. Therefore, the supervision has already been strengthened to make the product price bearable.

According to market information, at the beginning of February, long brinjal was sold at Tk 60 to Tk 80 taka per kg depending on the market, which is now being sold at Tk 50 to Tk 70. Beans were Tk 60 to Tk 100 depending on the quality, now at Tk 50 to Tk 80. Each piece of gourd was Tk 80 to Tk 100, now sold at Tk 70 to Tk 80. Chilli has been sold from Tk 80/100 per kg to Tk 70 to Tk 90. 

The price of potatoes has decreased slightly since last week. Currently, potatoes are being sold at Tk 30 to Tk 35 per kg.

But an opposite picture for some products is still visible in the market. On Monday, per hali (four) farm eggs were sold at Tk 50, which was sold at TK 45 to Tk 46 a week ago. Besides, broiler chickens are being sold at Tk 200 per kg, but two weeks ago, the buyer was able to buy at the rate of Tk 180 per kg.

Desi garlic is being sold at Tk 250 per kg, which was sold at Tk 235 to Tk 240 seven days ago. Besides, local ginger is being sold at Tk 280 per kg, which was Tk 270 last week. 

Good quality lentils are being sold at Tk 140 per kg. Chickpeas are being sold at a maximum of Tk 120 per kg, which was Tk 90 a month ago. 

Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) President Golam Rahman said that a group is increasing the price of products by creating market manipulation or syndicate. Rice, sugar, oil, onions, potatoes, spices, flour, bottled water, eggs, and meat, no business is out of the syndicate. Each and every syndicate is active and looting billions of Tk from the consumers.

“Necessary steps to break this illegal syndicate in the market should be taken at the earliest. Otherwise, price control will not be possible due to syndicates. This will further increase the suffering of the helpless consumers,” he added.