Prices of essentials soars as Ramadan comes closer

CAB asks govt to intensity watch on market to reign in greedy trader

Business Report
Prices of essentials like sugar, onion, grams, edible oil and other spices registered significant rise in the city market ahead of the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. The market is heating up every day in absence of effective monitoring system to force traders to keep restraint.
Reports already said business syndicates are active at city wholesale market and those holding stocks to create artificial crisis by slowing supply. They are already holding the market hostage pushing prices up of most kitchen items although government is claiming enough import in hands to keep the market stable.
Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) in a statement last week drew the attention of the government to this fact pointing out that though there is no reason in sight prices of essentials have started spiraling a month or two ahead of Ramadan as street-smart traders look to circumvent the mobile courts.
Government runs mobile courts during Ramadan to catch dishonest traders artificially manipulating supply and prices to make huge profit. CAB president Ghulam Rahman said. At a press conference in the city last week he said “Those wily businessmen have changed their strategy now,” but they can’t be allowed to exploit the people. The government must mobilize actions.
The market report said prices of meat have already increased by Tk 50 per kg, sugar Tk 8 per kg, onion Tk 15 per kg, garlic Tk 10 per kg and vegetables Tk 50 to 80 per kg. Fish prices have also edged up.
The data is based on report from several city kitchen markets, CAB said. Rahman, also a former chairman of Anti-Corruption Commission, recommended running mobile courts all around the year so that no one dares to raise prices artificially.
Businessmen allege of extortion in the transport sector during the month of Ramadan, which contributes to the price hike, said Mubasshar Hussain, convener of the national complain resolution committee of CAB. “The government should take serious action against this.”
Furthermore, businessmen set out to make big profits during Ramadan, whereas in other countries several offers are extended ahead of festivals. Rahman, also a former chairman of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission, urged the businessmen not to go for abnormal profits.
At the same time, he advised consumers not to buy products in bulk at the first of Ramadan, thinking the prices may go up. However, sometimes, consumers’ higher demand at the beginning of Ramadan fuels prices, he said.
Rahman also advised forming a ‘consumer co-operative’ within neighbourhoods, so that they would buy products from the wholesale market and distribute. “All the products’ prices are 25 to 40 percent lower in the wholesale market, so it might be helpful for consumers,” he added.
Hussain urged consumers to submit complaints to the CAB, which may alleviate consumers’ problems.

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