The prices of all essentials started shooting up abnormally after the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr. Amid the struggle to cope with the skyrocketing price hike of edible oil, a fresh surge in prices of soybean oil, sugar, onions, spices, fish, potatoes and other daily essentials has dealt a further blow to the common people. Besides, the prices of most vegetables have doubled in the capital’s kitchen markets. However, the prices of edible oil have been dropping in the global market gradually for the last few months. But the government has not taken any initiative to reduce the price of edible oil. So, the latest wave of price hike of daily needs and other food items has further upset the commoners.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina several times issued directives to the authorities to carry out constant monitoring of the markets to keep normal the prices, stocks and supplies of essential commodities. Besides, the agriculture, food and commerce ministers are also continuously assuring that there would be no shortage of essential commodities in the country. They also warned of taking stern action against those who would try to create any artificial crisis of essentials in the market ahead of the next general elections.
But showing thumbs to the authorities concerned, local traders are constantly increasing the prices of essentials. So, there has not been much reflection on the market what the government is claiming in terms of stock and market monitoring.
With the reduced income, the sky-high prices of daily essentials are eating into people’s family budget. Now one can hardly buy one kg vegetable at a price below Tk 60 to 160 though there is a big price gap in retail and wholesale markets.
The price hike of essentials, especially of soybean oil, sugar, onions, potatoes vegetables, is very much visible. Consumers alleged traders deliberately hiked the prices of vegetables without showing any valid reasons ahead of the holy month of Ramadan.
There is no alternative but
to get tough on syndicates
that are responsible for
creating unrest in the kitchen
A section of dishonest traders deliberately adopted the strategy to raise the prices of vegetables and other essentials well ahead of the next general polls in order to make the government controversial. So, consumers’ cooperative and farmers’ cooperative will have to be formed to deal with the middlemen which may help reduce prices alongside ensuring the fair shares of farmers.
The government should mull further steps to bring down prices of daily essentials to keep them at a tolerable level of the ordinary consumers. Besides, the local administration will have to monitor the prices of essentials at all major markets of capital Dhaka, other metropolitan cites, district towns and upazila headquarters throughout the holy month
Everything has gone out of people’s purchasing capacity after imposing sanctions (due mainly to disruption in supplying food), though the government has the ability of purchasing. The lower, lower middle, middle and fixed income groups’ people especially day-labourers, rickshaw-pullers, drivers or housemaids are the worst sufferers from essentials price hike.
They are facing serious financial hardship as running families have now become unbearable for them. No one will understand their agonies, common people allege every day, adding prices are skyrocketing although their salaries do not increase every year.
On the other hand, an organised syndicate comprising traders and wholesalers are still hiking the prices of everything including daily needs. Though the drives are being conducted by mobile courts and Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection, the identified members of this unholy nexus remain still untouched. As a result, they have become desperate to make profit in large margin in dishonest and unethical way alongside volatile the essentials’ price.
It is very unfortunate that when people are passing through hard days, Bangladesh Nationalist Party, anti-liberation forces and some elements have extended all-out support to different organised syndicates, instigating them to deepen the crisis further.
As Sheikh Hasina realised people’s sufferings have been mounted due to fresh surge in prices of essentials, she urged the businessmen not to think only about profit alongside taking some more measures immediately so the commoners would not suffer from price hike. Against the backdrop of the impacts of the global economic situation when the government is trying hard to keep the prices of essential commodities at a minimum level through ensuring stabilisation of economy, some corporate houses, dishonest millers, hoarders and traders together are making the essentials market volatile deliberately.
The prices of essential commodities are going up due to the excessive greed of traders. It is not possible to arrest the prices of daily essentials by only taking measures, making statements or warning issues instead of getting tough on the greedy traders.
The organised unholy syndicate’s members, who are benefiting from the price hike, are also making the government controversial. If the government does not get tough on the organised thugs and syndicate is not broken, the prices of daily essential will not come down.
Trading Corporation of Bangladesh must be strengthened and the rampant extortion of the influential quarter in the transport sector will have to be stopped to bring the abnormal price hike down. There is no alternative but to get tough on syndicates that are responsible for creating unrest in the kitchen market deliberately.
Authorities concerned must conduct mobile courts, monitor price lists and penalise traders who sell essential commodities at higher prices than mentioned in price lists right now. A good sense should be prevailed upon the businessmen and they must pay heed to the prime minister’s call. Therefore, we hope that they will sell all the essential commodities at fair prices across the country.
The government should not accept the existence of any anti-people syndicate in the market and the instigators. And it must destroy the unholy syndicate, starts monitoring the situation and take stern actions against dishonest traders. Otherwise, the government’s all efforts to bring the prices of essential commodities would go in vain.
S M Mizanur Rahman is working as Assistant Editor at Bangladesh Post