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Buyers smart from commodity price gaps

Published : 02 Sep 2022 10:10 PM

Noticeable price differences for various daily commodities are visible in the kitchen markets of the capital. 

From the retail to wholesale market, this price difference is even bigger, especially in rice and edible oil prices.

At least Tk 13 or more per kg of rice is being taken from the wholesaler to the retail market. Same is the case with edible oil. A 5 liter bottled soybean oil is being sold at Tk 900 in the wholesale market, that is Tk 970 in the retail market. While traders make extra profit by transferring goods in wholesale and retail markets, in this process consumers have to bear the brunt.

Without paying heed to the government rules, the retail traders are raising the prices of rice and edible oil as they wish on various pretexts. A visit to several markets in the capital on Friday showed a large price gap between the wholesale and retail markets of these two commodities. Retailers in some cases are not even able to show receipts for the purchase of goods from the wholesale market.   

In Karwan Bazar, per kg Atas Rice is being sold at Tk 54 which is Tk 60 at Badda kitchen Market. Similarly, the price of Miniket rice is also being charged Tk 5 or more extra per kg in exchange for the kitchen market. But the price difference is the most in Nazirshail rice. Retail traders are taking about Tk 13 or more than buying from wholesalers.

Similar situation was witnessed in the edible oil market. 5 liter bottled soybeans is sold at Tk 900 in wholesale but it is Tk 970 in the retail market. And loose soybeans which is Tk 163 taka per liter in the wholesale market, it is Tk 180 in the retail market.

Some greedy traders are still taking unfair advantage of the Russia-Ukraine war, sanctions and counter sanctions alongside the ongoing Covid-19 situation. So, the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission, an autonomous national statutory body, which is responsible for protection of domestic industry and regulation of import, determines the retail market.

Traders both at retail and wholesale market informed that, due to the high price of diesel, their transportation cost has increased, which they are adjusting price with the commodities selling price.   

However, the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission (BTC), an autonomous national statutory body, which is responsible for protection of local industry and regulation of import, determines the reasonable price of commodities are in the field to monitor the situation.

According to the BTC, if the price of any other products increases illogically, the government will also fix the price of the product. If anyone is found charging more than the prescribed prices, legal action will be taken against him. The person or businessman accused in the case can be jailed for three years.   

Besides, the government has also instructed all agencies, in charge, at the field level, including the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP), and Bangladesh Competition Commission, to file a case if a trader is found to be manipulating the govt-approved fixed rate.  

Commerce minister recently informed that the government will fix the prices of nine essential commodities to ease public sufferings. The products are rice, flour, flour (fine), edible oil, sugar, lentil, onion, mild steel (MS) products and cement.