Consumers Association of Bangladesh on Tuesday said despite repeated assurances and measures form the government the prices of essential commodities could not be controlled ahead of Ramadan.
At a press conference at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity, CAB said some corrupt traders had increased the prices of commodities much ahead of the Ramadan forcing people to buy commodities in the increased prices.
CAB suggested that the government should apply Special Powers Act against the dishonest businesses to keep prices of commodities within the reach of consumers during Ramadan.
CAB chairman Ghulam Rahman said the rogue traders create syndicate and raise prices of goods to make exorbitant profit taking opportunity of time and scope.
‘The dishonest traders should be handed down exemplary punishment to contain the situation,’ he said.
Ghulam Rahman, a former chairman of Anti-corruption Commission, said the government told us that the supply of commodities was adequate, but price increase saw no let-up.
‘It’s quite unexpected,’ he said.
‘We expect the concerned public offices to take prompt and responsible steps with integrity to control the prices,’ he said.
The association also complained against the commerce minister for is poor monitoring and utter failure in controlling the prices of commodities even though the ministry repeatedly assured the people that there were adequate supply, production and stock of essential commodities for Ramadan in the country.
It said beef, onion, garlic, sugar, fish and vegetables were being sold at increased prices as high as Tk 50 per kg now from the regular price.
CAB said the price of per kg beef increased by Tk 50, sugar by Tk 8, onion by Tk 15 and garlic price increased by Tk 10 though the Ramadan was yet to come.
CAB’s consumers’ rights national committee convener Mubasshar Hussein expressed dissatisfaction with the traders’ political connections.
When law enforcers detained any trader for his or her fraudulent activity, he or she was released immediately on political consideration and often the concerned officer had to face action, he added.
‘Economic theory fails here in Bangladesh when the Ramadan comes,’ he said, adding, ‘Economic theory says that when the sale volume increases the prices go down, but we see completely reverse trend in Bangladesh during Ramadan.’
CAB’s energy adviser professor M Shamsul Alam urged the government to ensure adequate gas supply to the domestic users during Ramadan so that they prepare their foods timely.
He also demanded the Rural Electrification Board get enough electricity supply from the government to ensure electricity in the rural areas during iftar, sehri and tarabi prayers times.