Confirming that there is an adequate supply of essential goods, representatives of the business community on Sunday said they did not see any possibility of rise in prices during the month of Ramadan.
They, however, urged the government to stop extortion in the transportation sector for facilitating smooth supply of goods and commodities that could help ensure price stability.
In response, while addressing a DCCI webinar, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said the authorities would be tough against any extortionists.
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) organised the webinar on “Law and order situation and keeping price of essentials stable during the upcoming Ramadan”, said a news release.
“The supply of spices is quite fine and there is no probability of price hike of this item. Now is the time for sales whereas we incurred a huge loss last year,” Enayet Ullah, President of Moulovi Bazar Babosai Somity, said.
He also urged the authorities concerned to allow the wholesale market to keep open during the lockdown, a demand which was iterated by Golam Mowla, President, Edible Oil Importers Association.
Mr. Mawla blamed the domestic price increase on international marketvolatility,however, admitting that sometimes retailers raise the price. He proposed that the Ministry of Commerce should fix the retail price to control price hike.
Deputy Director of Consumers Rights Department Monzur Shariar, too, assured the virtual gathering that there is no shortage of goods. “We’re monitoring the market. If the government fixes the price we will ensure it. We are ready to stay on field in the month of Ramadan,” he added.
DCCI President Rizwan Rahman observed that price hike in the international market and volatility in supply chain had an impact on the price situation in Bangladesh.
“The issue of international market, sometimes artificial crisis as a result of hoarding, lack of market monitoring, extortion in the transportation sector, and increased transportation costs are some of the reasons of price spiralling especially in the month of Ramadan,” he said.
Referring to increase in poverty due to the pandemic, as studies found, the business leader cautioned that the people would suffer more during the Ramadan, should prices of essentials increase in such a situation.
Mr Rizwan Rahman recommended release of essential goods from the port on a priority basis in order to keep the prices under control.
The DCCI President further urged the law enforcement authorities to take stern action against extortionists in the transportation sector and also called for bringing the ultra-poor section under social safety net.
The home minister said extortion is now under control. “Although it’s not hundred per cent (under control), we are tough against it,” he added. “We want the help of businessmen to keep the prices stable not only in the month of Ramadan but also all the year round.”
Mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh mentioned that the city authorities have formed a committee comprising of nine counselors for market monitoring. “Extortions are now at a minimum and our fight against extortionists will continue,” he said.
SM Nazer Hossain, Vice President of Consumer Association of Bangladesh,alleged that there is a lack of market monitoring and people see blame-game between large and small businessmen. He urged the businessmen to accept lower profit margin.
President of Bangladesh Super Market Owners’ Association Kazi Inam Ahmed said there are 300 super shops in the country. “We have enough stock of goods. If we want to keep the price-level stable, the price will not increase.”