The Financial Express

Intel recommends action against oligopolies

| Updated: September 28, 2021 19:03:29

Intel recommends action against oligopolies

An unrelenting rice-market volatility prompted recommendations for punitive action against perceived oligopolies and remedial measures for taming overheated prices through expanding the rationing under OMS operations.

Officials said an intelligence body's report is in government hands that suggests taking punitive steps against unscrupulous traders and millers blamed for market manipulation to make a windfall.

It has also recommended conducting mobile court by the commerce ministry and mounting rice-market monitoring by the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection.

The agency recently made a set of recommendations to the ministries concerned, including the ministry of commerce, to make the rice market stable.

"The report suggested holding meeting every month with the stakeholders, including farmers, wholesalers and millers' association, to contain the prices of rice and paddy," said one official.

However, the report says that prices of rice are being increased on the market for a lack of monitoring by the authorities concerned. "This is the main reason for the recent rice-market volatility."

It has suggested taking steps for extensive publicity on stock of food-grains and demand to encourage people not to purchase excessive food-grains.

It has also recommended strengthening government's OMS programme and taking the required initiative to sell rice in the metropolitan areas, the districts and Upzials levels.

It opined that the authority should take necessary steps to instruct the law- enforcement agencies, including state intelligence agencies, to ramp up monitoring in the Haor areas so that millers cannot buy excessive paddy in the name of producing Atap (parboiled) rice.

Prices of both rice and paddy declined moderately by around Tk 3.0 a kg in the last couple of days in the milling-hubs, which traders attributed to a notable rise in the supply of imported grains.

Dhaka wholesale markets, including Badamtoli, Babubazar and Mohammadpur Krishi Market, also showed a Tk 2.0 decline a kg during the recent days.

Traders say coarse and medium rice showed the utmost fall, as imported grains flooded the market.

Ministry of Food data showed private sector had brought 81,000 tonnes in the last three weeks (until Sept 20).

The government also imported 0.32 million tonnes of rice in the current financial year so far, added the ministry.

The public warehouses also have 1.7 million tonnes of food grains, of which rice and paddy comprise 1.55 million tonnes.

Coarse rice sold at Tk 45-48 a kg in the city retail markets on Sunday, according to Trading Corporation of Bangladesh data.

Medium and common finer varieties were selling at Tk 50-56 and Tk 55-67 a kg respectively on the day, the data showed.

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