Syndicates active to hike essentials prices

Even before the abnormal onion price hike could be contained by the government, syndicates are active to artificially increase prices of almost all the daily essentials including rice, flour, coarse flour and edible oil. According to millers, the price of rice might increase further. In all, the price of everyday commodities is gradually going out of control. Low-income people are suffering a lot due to rise in prices. Investigation revealed that onion prices started to become unstable from September 29. It was not resolved despite several interventions by the government. Within two months, the price of onions went from Tk 50 taka to Tk 240-250.

Reports of onion being imported from Turkey, Pakistan and Myanmar caused the prices to fall a little in the last two days. However, the prices are back to increasing again. Yesterday, the price of local onion increased by about Tk 10 per kg in the wholesale market of the capital. On the other hand, the price of thin rice has increased by Tk 5 to 7 per kg in two weeks.

And the price of soybean oil has risen by Tk 3 to 5 per liter. Traders are trying to increase the price of oil further. However, after the meeting of the tariff commission, it will be known whether the price of oil will rise further. Besides, the price of flour has risen by Tk 8 per kg. Lastly, the rumors of increasing price of salt created chaos in the country. Although the government has taken several steps to resolve these crises quickly, it seems that nothing is working. It has created a kind of panic in the minds of ordinary people about the commodity market. When they hear that the price of a product increases, they start to panic. This is making farmers concerned as well.

Even though the prices of commodities, including rice has increased, the farmers are not getting the profits. The additional money is going into the pockets of greedy syndicates. And consumers are repeatedly suffering as a result. Regarding the matter, Golam Moazzem Hossain, director of research at the Center for Policy Dialogue, said, ‘In order to stabilize the product market, it is important to change the legal framework. Total supply chain, including product reserves, supplies, imports, exports, market prices, must be brought to the legal framework.’

‘Like the advance market monitoring team for rice, advance monitoring system has to be introduced for each commodity. That way the advance information about the product will be with the concerned department of the government. Long-term plans need to be taken on the commodity market.’

He further stated that if the onion crisis is not resolved, it will adversely affect price of other commodities. Bangladesh Tariff Commission met with traders regarding this matter on Wednesday. When asked about the matter, member of Bangladesh Tariff Commission Shah Md Abu Raihan Alberuni said, ‘We are regularly monitoring the market. There held two meetings on the tariff commission on Wednesday with regard to commodities. It will discuss various issues including the supply situation of the commodity and price rise’. It is also a regular meeting of the tariff commission, the official said.