Unscrupulous traders behind abnormal price hike: Senior commerce secretary

The demand for some essential products, including oil and sugar, is met through imports.


As the demand for some essential products, including oil and sugar, is met through imports, volatility in the international market affects the local market. PHOTO: THE DAILY STAR

August 24, 2023

DHAKA – The prices of essential goods sometimes go up in Bangladesh due to unscrupulous traders, resulting in suffering for consumers, said Tapan Kanti Ghosh, senior secretary of the commerce ministry, yesterday.

He said the demand for some essential products, including oil and sugar, is met through imports. Sometimes, volatility in commodity prices is observed owing to the volatility in the international market.

But essential commodities are sometimes sold at higher-than-expected prices. Businessmen should not do this, he said.

Ghosh spoke at a multi-stakeholder discussion styled “Strengthening Business-Agency Collaboration” organised by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) at the latter’s office in the capital.

The senior secretary said the government is never against businessmen. Rather, the public sector always tries to facilitate the private sector since the contribution of the latter to the economy is higher.

DCCI President Md Sameer Sattar highlighted a few challenges standing in the way of maintaining price stability.

The challenges include complex customs procedures, multiple intermediaries in supply chains, and the production of counterfeit products by unscrupulous businessmen.

“Customs clearance process needs to be faster to reduce the cost of doing business,” Sattar said.

The business leader said the capacity of Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution needs to be enhanced.

He emphasised coordination among the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission, the Bangladesh Competition Commission and the National Board of Revenue.

“Strict monitoring is needed to minimise price variation for similar products,” he said, calling for proper coordination between businesses and government agencies.

Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Atiqul Islam said the focus on market monitoring should be strong and collaboration among all stakeholders is a must.

He urged the government to end the harassment facing the business community.

Mahbubul Alam, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said if anyone creates an artificial crisis and contributes to inflating prices, he or she should be brought to justice.

AHM Shafiquzzaman, director-general of the Directorate of National Consumers Right Protection, sought help from honest businessmen to stand against dishonest traders who try to create an artificial crisis in the market.

Bellal Hossain Seikh, director for administration and accounting at the Department of Labour, said there is no alternative to maintaining good relations with industries in order to implement labour laws.

Consumers Association of Bangladesh Treasurer Md Monjur-e-Khoda Tarafdar also spoke.

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