The holy month of Ramadan will begin only after some days. This month teaches us how to be restrained. But it is being observed that unrestrained work or tendency to do such work is happening ahead of the month of abstinence and restraint. The prices of sugar, gram and edible oil have been marked with fluctuation in the markets. Grams are now being sold at TK 90 to TK 100 a kg which were sold at TK 70 a kg two or three weeks ago. The price of sugar has risen to TK 75 from TK 60 a kg.
It is seen that prices of daily commodities increase after the arrival of Ramadan. It has become a common affair to increase the prices of daily commodities in the markets during the month of Ramadan. Generally, prices go up when supply of products decreases in the markets. There is no visible reason behind the price hike of products as there is huge stock of products and down price at international markets. Businessmen are increasing this price illogically. There is an allegation that a syndicate is working behind it. According to the latest news reports, concerned businessmen have imported a sufficient amount of sugar, grams and edible oil before Ramadan this time. But the prices are reported to be increasing as the businessmen have controlled the markets by forming a syndicate. As a result, buyers are to purchase these products at an excessive price.
It is learnt that there is a sufficient stock of edible oils in the country. 15 lakh tonnes of edible oil were imported to the country in the last one year. Several ships are now ready to unload products at the Chittagong port. But the price of edible oil has increased by TK 60 per maund at the Khatunganj wholesale market of Chittagong in the last one week. On the other hand, the price of sugar has gone up by TK 15 per kg on an average despite huge stock of sugar than demand which is not acceptable in any way. Besides, the price of gram has been increased by creating artificial crisis.
It is here to be mentioned that after holding meeting with the commerce minister, businessmen said that there is a huge stock of sugar, oil, grams and lentils in the country. They also assured that the prices of the products will be down instead of increasing during this Ramadan. But the syndicate created by the businessmen is controlling the markets in such a way which results in increasing prices. To end this situation, the government will have to take stern steps in curbing the price hike of the products and in stopping the reinforcement of irregularities of businessmen.
To bring the situation under control, the government should enhance monitoring in the markets, run mobile courts on regular basis, and take stern steps against businessmen and sellers if irregularities brought against them are proved to be true. By controlling strict market management, the regulation of prices of products should be kept within the purchasing power of the general public.
In an attempt to keep the prices of essential commodities stable during Ramadan, the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) started open market sale (OMS) of the essential commodities across Bangladesh ahead of the holy month of Ramadan. The TCB started selling sugar, lentils, edible oil, gram and dates at lower price than the market rate in the capital and other divisional cities. The selling of the essential commodities will continue till June 18. But the TCB for its success will have to put emphasis on the market control alongside increasing the supply of the products.
risingbd/DHAKA/May 18, 2017/Ali Nowsher/Amirul