Price Control of Commodities and Directives of the Prime Minister

Hiren Pandit: After the parliament election, the Prime Minister gave special importance to the control of commodity prices and asked the concerned ministers to work on it in coordination. She learned the latest situation from the ministers, told them what the ministers had done, and shared their experiences. Then the Prime Minister gave specific instructions. She directed the NBR to reduce the duty rates of these 4 products which are required during Ramadan, especially dates, edible oil, sugar, and rice. They are working on it now. The amount to be reduced will be calculated by NBR so that the pressure of commodity price is less on people.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has ordered a reduction in the duty rate of edible oil, sugar, dates, and rice on the occasion of the upcoming Ramadan. She gave this order in the cabinet meeting on Monday, January 29. Apart from this, the Prime Minister has also directed the concerned to monitor that there is no shortage of supply of products in the market during this holy month. She has ordered to reduction the duty on edible oil, sugar, dates and rice on the occasion of the upcoming Ramadan. She directed that there should be no shortfall in supply and demand in the market. She has been assured in this regard by the concerned ministry.

LC open rates are now much higher than this time last year and food stocks are much higher, the data presented. LCs have been opened for the import of 44 thousand 734 tons of dates, 1 lakh 25 thousand 374 tons of crude soybean oil, 3 lakh 87 thousand 138 tons of sugar so far this year. The supply of consumer goods around Ramadan is higher than before. The country’s largest wholesale market Khatunganj of Chattogram has increased the supply and the prices of spices including chickpeas, lentils and motor have decreased. However, the price of Mugdal has increased slightly. 1 lakh 39 thousand 227 metric tons of chickpeas have been imported in the last 6 months.

Dates have been imported 44 thousand 634 metric tons. All the processes of the 12th National Assembly elections are over. The first session of the new parliament began on January 30. At present, if someone is asked, what is the biggest problem in Bangladesh? The answer would be, an increase in the prices of daily necessities. Eating food is essential for sustaining life, and for healthy living, it is necessary to consume safe nutritious and balanced food. When a man cannot get the food he needs, he cannot do any work properly. The prices of daily commodities are increasing uncontrollably. It is becoming difficult to control the market despite the efforts.

The rise in commodity prices has now become a panic. The common people of the country are in extreme trouble due to the abnormal increase in the prices of daily necessities for several months. The sufferings of the laborers have reached an extreme. Prices of almost every commodity including rice, dal, sugar, and oil are now high. Everything is going up in price. As a result, everyone has to think about whether a large population of our country is moving forward with malnutrition. But their performance or efficiency is naturally low.

But here’s a key principle to get everyone moving forward. If we are good, family will be good, society will be good, Bangladesh will be good, people of the country will be good. Businessmen also have to do business, to make a profit, but if they don’t do one or the other, the business will not survive. Everything must be done without increasing the danger or suffering of people. Bangladesh is moving forward, development is visible from the ground to the sky, wherever you look. Prime Minister is making relentless efforts to put smiles on the faces of the people of this country. Ever since he assumed responsibility after the elections, she has been trying to keep all the problems including commodity prices and inflation at a tolerable level. She also aims at how to reduce the cost of goods.

Everyone fears that if the current situation prevails for a long time, the lives of the middle-class and lower-class people will become more miserable. Allegedly, prices of products in the market are increased by syndicate. But it needs to end. To eliminate market volatility, syndicates of unscrupulous traders must be suppressed. The concerned authorities should ensure that no one manipulates the commodity market. The Food Ministry should strengthen the market monitoring system. It is necessary to take strict action against those who are doing irregularities.

The government is taking strict measures to curb the highly profitable businessmen. Be stricter if necessary. All of the income of the lower middle class and lower-income people is being used up to buy the minimum food items needed for survival. They don’t have money to spend on health, treatment, education, etc. One of the challenges of the new government is to reduce commodity prices and control inflation. Bringing down inflation to 7.5 percent by next June is a big challenge.

Economists believe that to restore stability to the macroeconomy, the first step is to start implementing the new government’s promises immediately. Interest rates should be raised at a higher rate to control inflation, besides market supervision, banking sector reform, taking measures to increase revenue collection and creating a business-friendly investment environment are needed in the interest of the overall economy. To control inflation, the interest rate needs to be increased and the inflation rate should be reduced by increasing the interest rate.

If the interest rate is increased, the stability of the dollar exchange rate will also be restored, and the liquidity crisis of the banks will also be solved. Then the money outside will also return to the bank. Inflation is regarded as the biggest obstacle to the economy. Inflation reduces people’s purchasing power, increases the suffering of the middle- and lower-income groups, and makes the quality of life of consumers miserable. Consumer price inflation outpaces inflationary volatility. Prices of onions, potatoes, eggs, winter vegetables, and gas have increased at all-record rates in the past.

Inflation conditions are subject to uncertainty due to various factors, including risks arising from global commodity price movements, domestic fiscal and monetary policy stance, and exchange rate volatility. Inflationary effects caused by higher fuel prices may affect business due to increases in transportation costs and electricity prices. In addition, the Russia-Ukraine war has had an inflationary effect on fuel and food prices. Through various reviews, the reasons for the continuous increase in the country’s commodity prices have come out, the syndicate of traders is one of the main reasons for the increase in commodity prices.

It is often alleged that a class of highly profitable unscrupulous traders control the market by hoarding commodities. The government has also blamed the syndicates of these traders for the increase in commodity prices. Heavy extortion on industrial owners, entrepreneurs, producers and traders is another reason for the increase in commodity prices. Traders and producers make up for the loss of levies paid by extortionists by increasing commodity prices. Due to the increase in duty, the price of goods also increases. Negligence and failure of the government in market regulation and supervision is a major reason for the increase in commodity prices.

Although the government has at times blamed the traders’ syndicates for the rise in prices, administrative action against them is rarely seen. Because, due to illegal bribery, the nuisance of black marketers is increasing gradually in the country. As a result, despite the reduction in duty, in most cases, the price of goods does not decrease.The provision of food products at fair prices through TCB is undoubtedly a good thing. TCBs are seen selling food products in a few places in urban areas. This line is getting longer day by day. People stand for hours. They are standing in line like this to get edible oil, rice, sugar, onion etc. products at low prices.

Poor people cannot survive on low incomes or keep up with inflation. So besides controlling the market, some provision should be made for these poor people, they should be given government assistance. In this case, the government should increase the sale of products through TCB. The world is in a difficult situation. Think about how food can be delivered to poor people at a low cost. However, it is possible to save money if irregularities, corruption, and wastage can be reduced in the supply of fuel oil, gas, electricity, and water. Agricultural production in our country has increased many folds so it should not be wasted. Efforts can be made to control the prices of essential commodities by strengthening market monitoring, but this will not provide a long-term solution.

A permanent solution needs to be found to keep commodity prices stable. By activating the small importers and restricting the countrywide import, along with creating the opportunity to store the country’s agricultural products in a modern way, and introducing an orderly market system, a permanent solution can be found to stabilize the commodity prices. One of the options needs to be chosen keeping in mind their purchasing power in line with current inflation. Private enterprise owners also need to think about their employees.

A section of our low-income people is employed in garment factories. Therefore, if they are allowed to buy products with subsidies, their purchasing power will be bearable. In this way, if everyone is aware of the workers engaged in their work, the lower-income people can get some relief. Their purchasing power will be within reach. However, the number of fixed-income people is not high. Most of us are ordinary people engaged in unspecified occupations. The government should take their responsibility.

Be it by subsidizing products, giving cards to buy products at a low price, by helping to buy products through OMS, by direct financial support, giving food in exchange for work, by increasing the scope of social security, the poor people should be helped in any way. Until the day the price of goods in the world market does not come to a tolerable level and the price of consumer goods produced in our country does not decrease, we have to continue this journey until that day. A developed, stable, and sustainable economy is essential for the development of the entire country, where development and employment are equally important.

The government is working to create employment by giving importance to the private sector. Because the government alone can’t achieve employment. Ability should be brought into awareness keeping in mind the issue of employment for all. It will be easy to create a beautiful society and the country will move forward, known as Bangabandhu’s Golden Bengal.

Hiren Pandit is a columnist and a researcher.

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