Common eating oils are still retailing at previous highs defying the government fixed rates.
The government on Wednesday fixed the prices of both bottled and loose soybean oil and palm oil, in a bid to keep the cooking oil cost within the reach of common people as the edible oil prices increased by 29-40 per cent in the last three months.
The commerce ministry fixed the maximum retail price (MRP) of bottled soybean oil at Tk 135 a litre, whereas it is being sold at Tk 135-142 a litre at the retail market depending on brands.
The ministry also fixed MRP of each 5.0 litre soybean oil bottle at Tk 630 while groceries are selling at Tk 635-Tk 685 a jar depending on brands.
The prices of soybean and palm oil were fixed by the ministry on Wednesday after a meeting with major refiners, importers, traders and wholesalers at the secretariat in Dhaka.
However, grocers said they were yet to get any notification from distributors on the newly fixed prices.
"I purchased new bottles weighing half litre, one litre, two litres, three litres and five litres a week back at previous rates," said Belal Hossain, a grocer at West Dhanmondi in the capital.
He said a half-litre bottle was now retailed at Tk 71, while the one-litre bottle at Tk 135-138.
Teer, Pusti, Fresh and Bashundhara brands are retailed at Tk 135 a litre while Rupchanda (poly pack) at Tk 138 a litre.
Hossain said considering the price of a half-litre bottle, the maximum price of a one-litre branded soybean oil bottle was still at Tk 142.
Loose soybean oil was found selling at Tk 116-122 a litre on Friday whereas its MRP was fixed at Tk 115 by the commerce ministry.
Loose super palm oil was sold at Tk 106-107 a litre against the government MRP of Tk 104.
Jakir Ahsan, an edible oil vendor at Rayerbazar in the city, said wholesale prices of soybean oil still hover between Tk 113 and Tk 116 a litre based on quality.
"We are now selling oil that was purchased much earlier," he said.
Naim Akhter, proprietor of the Nipa Enterprise, a Moulvibazar-based wholesaler in the city, said their purchase cost of soybean oil was minimum Tk 112 a litre as the oil was selling at Tk 4,480-Tk 4,500 per maund at the mill gates.
Before next Monday, he said, it is not possible to follow the government rates.
"And the government will have to force the refiners to supply oil at time to maintain the chain," he said.
Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) secretary Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan said refiners had already set the price of one-litre bottle at Tk 135 before the government's fixation.
Soybean oil of each 5.0 litre jar was selling below Tk 630 by some brands before the government fixed the MRP, he said, adding that these brands would now get a chance to raise the prices further.
Strict monitoring and random mobile courts should be conducted to keep the prices within reach of the people ahead of the month of Ramadan, he opined.
The government should seriously think about reviewing higher import duty which is the key reason behind such higher prices of oil, he added.
According to the commerce ministry, the country has a demand for 2.0 million tonnes of edible oil annually; of which, above 90 per cent is met through imports.
The country imported edible oil worth Tk 122 billion in the last financial year, as per the ministry.