The country's apex trade organisation FBCCI observed Wednesday that the prices of essential commodities rise during the holy month of Ramadan largely because of "rampant extortion in the transport sector by policemen and political workers".
It said a section of policemen in connivance with some political activists are responsible for such extortion in the road sector which leads to rise in the prices of essential food items before and during the month of Ramadan.
"The policemen and the political activists are involved with the crimes and that's why the prices of foods rise," said Khandaker Ruhul Amin, acting president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) at its headquarters in the city.
Mr Amin, however, felt that if the vested quarters remain active in the transport sector, the prices of goods will rise obviously during the holy month.
He, however, said the apex trade body in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) would hold a meeting with the Ministry of Home Affairs on the issue shortly.
"We took this very seriously and will take an effective move to curb it this year in the interest of the people, especially for those fasting during this holy month," Mr Amin told a group of journalists.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said earlier that the government had taken a strong stand against corruption and extortion, even if these crimes are committed by policemen.
The home minister, while exchanging views with the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry delegation at his secretariat office, said if a police member is found guilty of extortion or corruption, the government would take immediate and tough action against him or her.
Mr Amin, however, said they had been working on a tripartite approach involving MoC and the Ministry of Home Affairs to tackle the situation this year.
He however hinted that if the tripartite mechanism works properly with the strong government monitoring, the price of essential commodities will remain stable during the holy month of Ramadan.
He also said the FBCCI and the MoC already met all relevant businesses to help stabilise the prices of essential during Ramadan.
"We met with the Khatoonganj traders' association and Moulvibazar traders' association in this regard."
Mr Amin said so far the market situation concerning some six food products consumed mostly in Ramadan including sugar and edible oil is satisfactory and there will be no shortage from the supply side.
"In my view over 300,000 tonnes of additional sugar remained as inventory with the refiners and in the market which is almost equivalent to the Ramadan's demand."
"There are other food products also in the pipeline," he added.
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