Commerce ministry works to identify syndicates behind price hike

Sunday, 9 January 2022

Essential commodities monitoring cell and Bangladesh Competition Commission (BCC) are working to identify illegal syndicates and hoarders for breaking the trap of price hike of the essentials by rumours, reports UNB.
Both the wings of the commerce ministry are collecting information from the markets regarding illegal syndicate and hoarding for final action following instructions from high ups of the government, said AHM Shafiquzzaman, additional commerce secretary on Sunday.
He said that despite having enough supply of the essentials a group of people sometimes spread rumours among common people to enhance the sale of particular commodities.
He believed the common people are not aware enough about the price hike trap and as a result they would buy particular goods more than their need at higher price on the rumours of short supply.
The government is taking strict action against the businesspeople who are making hefty profits, Shafiquzzaman said.
They are being brought under the law by finding out why the market is unstable even after the supply of essential commodities is adequate.
When contacted, Mofizul Islam, chairman of BCC said, "We are reviewing various products and services, including daily necessities, to understand the market. Necessary information is being collected from various organisations to understand whether the market is anti-competitive or not."
Information on who is importing these products or producing them in the country, at what price they are being sold are being reviewed, he said.
He said that legal action would be taken against the concerned organisation if any discrepancy was found after investigation.
Giving example, he said, “Suppose a pharmaceutical company is selling the same class of medicine at a price higher than the market price. We investigate the reasons for the price difference. At the same time, we also see if the market is being affected in any dishonest way.”
The commission will take action against the responsible organisation or person in two ways, by fines and criminal cases.
Depending on the type of crime, fines are imposed. There are rules for a minimum of 1.0 per cent and a maximum of 10 per cent fines for the amount of transactions or products sold by the company in the previous three years.
Mofizul said, "There is no provision for direct imprisonment in the law of the Competition Commission. Only financial penalties can be imposed. However, if we do not obey the order, there is a chance of a criminal case. There is a provision of jail in criminal cases."