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Prices of essentials to remain stable in Ramadan, says Tofail

FE Report | April 02, 2018 00:00:00

Prices of essential commodities will remain stable in the local market during the upcoming month of Ramadan as the country has a sufficient stock to meet demand, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said Sunday.

"We have a sufficient stock of essential items to fulfill the demand during the fasting month of Ramadan," he told reporters after a review meeting with the country's traders on supply, prices and stocks of essential commodities at his secretariat office.

Traders, however, called for withdrawal of vehicle's existing weight limit set by the government on goods transportation through highways during Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha.

They also demanded taking steps to reduce traffic congestion and open the previous central jail road during the period to facilitate transport of essential goods in the capital city.

The traders assured the government that the prices of key essential items would not go up before or during the holy month of Ramadan as they have enough stock of these commodities.

Importers, wholesalers and retailers who attended the meeting said they have sufficient stock of gram, onion, sugar, edible oil and lentils. Prices of these items would remain static during the fasting month, they added.

The commerce minister said, "We hope the prices of essential items will not only remain stable in Ramadan but also all the year round."

He added: "Traders will not create artificial crisis of key essential items during Ramadan as they all are honest businessmen and we have confidence in them."

The minister expressed the hope that the prices of essential items would not go up since the government had taken necessary measures in this regard like previous years.

Shubhashish Bose, secretary of the ministry of commerce, food secretary in charge, chairman of Bangladesh Tariff Commission, officials concerned and representatives from Meghna Group of Industries, other business groups and traders' associations were present at the meeting.

Mostafa Kamal, chairman of Meghna Group, said the prices of essential goods, especially edible oil and sugar, will remain stable in the local market during the month of Ramadan due to adequate supply.

City's meat traders assured the commerce minister that meat prices would decrease during the upcoming month of Ramadan.

Country's annual demand for edible oil is 1.5 million tonnes. Over 1.43 million tonnes were imported as of February in the current fiscal year (FY), according to the MoC data.

The country imported over 0.05 million tonnes of gram till February last. The annual demand for the item is 60,000 tonnes. More or less 0.3 million tonnes of gram will be required for Ramadan.

As per the official data, the country produced over 2.15 million tonnes of onion last fiscal year. The annual demand for onion is about 2.4 million tonnes. Nearly 0.45 million tonnes of onion were imported as of February in the current FY.

Country's annual demand for sugar is 1.6 million tonnes. Till February last, 0.36 million tonnes of sugar were imported. The country produced about 0.10 million tonnes of sugar while 0.3 million tonnes more sugar will be needed during Ramadan.

Country's annual demand for lentils is nearly 0.4 million tonnes. Some 0.10 million tonnes of lentils were imported till February. About 70,000 tonnes of additional lentils will be required for the upcoming fasting month.

The annual demand for garlic is over 0.50 million tonnes and the country imported about 39,242 tonnes of the item till February last.

The annual demand for ginger is around 0.30 million tonnes. Some 69,620 tonnes of the item were imported until February.

Country's annual demand for date is nearly 20,000 tonnes while its demand during Ramadan is 18,000 tonnes. Some 39,154 tonnes of date were imported until February.

The government will, however, take a move for open market sale (OMS) of key essential items such as sugar, soybean oil, lentils, gram and date aiming to keep its prices within the buying capacity of the common people during Ramadan.

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