• Monday, May 29, 2023
  • Last Update : 06:33 pm

Govt determined to keep prices of essentials stable during Ramadan

  • Published at 12:08 pm April 2nd, 2018
  • Last updated at 02:19 pm April 2nd, 2018
Govt determined to keep prices of essentials stable during Ramadan
The government is taking steps to ensure that the prices of essential goods do not spiral out of control during the Ramadan to avoid embarrassment ahead of the national election scheduled for later this year. Steps taken by the Commerce Ministry include keeping supplies of essentials normal, regular monitoring of markets, reducing complications in importing goods and operating mobile courts, sources at the commerce and home ministries say. Apart from these, the Commerce Ministry is already keeping in touch with importers, traders and consumers. Along with these, the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh is also being kept ready to tackle any complicated situations. Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed met stakeholders on Sunday as part of the initiatives. The goods in high demand during Ramadan include onion, chickpea, lentil, oil, sugar and date. Prices of these products usually skyrocket during the month of fasting. So do the prices of vegetables, fish, meat, green chili, aubergine, and tomato, among others. This year, the government plans to keep vigil to prevent traders stockpiling these goods and keep the prices in check. Four intelligence agencies are also surveying the market. They are regularly monitoring the wholesale market and import process of the goods that are brought in from other countries during the Ramadan. These intelligence agencies will also keep an eye on notorious traders. Sources say steps have been taken to revamp the Commerce Ministry’s market monitoring committee. A decision to include local public representatives in every district administration’s monitoring work has also been taken. The government is also considering roping in local leaders to monitor whether anyone is stockpiling goods. Fourteen officials of deputy secretary or equivalent rank head the 14 monitoring committees under the Commerce Ministry. One representative each from Dhaka district administration, agriculture, food, finance, road transport, shipping ministries, Bangladesh Bank are included in these committees. Members of the law enforcement agencies are also included.

‘Prices to remain stable’

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed has asserted that the supply, stock, and prices of essentials will be normal this year. “The stock of goods is several times higher than the demand. The traders or consumers have nothing to panic about this Ramadan,” he said. Tofail says apart from local production, rice, oil, lentil, sugar, onion, garlic, ginger and other essential goods have been imported ahead of Ramadan. “So, prices of these essentials and their supply will remain normal. There is no chance of price hike. At present, the amount of essential goods in stock is way higher than the demand.” He says the government is providing all sorts of assistance to the traders to keep the prices and supply of essentials stable. “Importers and local traders in Sunday’s meeting said the prices will not increase and there will be no supply shortage of the essential goods,” he said. “There is no possibility of an artificial crisis.” Tofail claims that the prices and supply of essential goods will be normal throughout the year. Commerce Ministry sources say the usual annual demand for edible oil is 1.7 million tons. In 11 months, the demand is 1.5 million while there is an additional demand for 250,000 tons during the Ramadan. Last year, the local production of oil was 750,000 tons and another 2.9 million tons were imported. The annual demand for sugar is 1.9 million tons. Of them, there is a demand for 300,000 tons in Ramadan alone. Last year, 1.7 million tons of sugar was imported while the local production was 68,562 tons. As for chickpea, the annual demand is 180,000 tons. Of them, 80,000 tons are needed in Ramadan. Last year, 508,000 tons were imported. This year the price of onion is stable. Commerce Secretary Shubhashish Bose says the stock of other essential goods is adequate and their prices are stable. The capital’s Moulvibazar Traders’ Association General Secretary Golam Mawla, too, has assured that there will not be any problem in the wholesale market in the Ramadan. “There has not been any problem in the past. Failure to tackle the retail market will turn the government’s initiatives into failure since the difference in prices in the wholesale and the retail markets become huge. “This makes the consumers suffer and embarrasses the government.” This article was first published on banglatribune.com