'Essential commodities in abundance, no need to panic'

‘Essential commodities in abundance, no need to panic’

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Senior commerce secretary hoped that edible oil prices would come down as soon as possible

There is more than sufficient stock of essential commodities with the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), 12 times over to be exact, compared to previous years, said Md Jafar Uddin, senior commerce secretary, on Saturday.

As a result, there is no reason for supply to run out during the ongoing month of Ramadan, he told the media during a kitchen market inspection at Shantinagar in the capital.

Later he visited several other kitchen markets, including New Market, Mohammadpur Town Hall, and TCB’s open market sale (OMS) trucks.

“Ahead of Ramadan, we prepare to stockpile essential goods 3-4 months in advance. This time, TCB has ample stock of each product, 12 times over,” he said.

Apart from keeping track of global markets, TCB is also in touch with importers of the essential commodities, monitoring their letters of credit (LCs) for import prices and how much the price increases in the supply chain, Jafar also said.

“This time we have more than sufficient stocks of daily necessities. We want to reassure people that there is no reason to panic,” said the senior commerce secretary.

TCB is doing well, the consumer rights team is in the fields, as well as the administration. The business leaders were also with us. We motivated them to keep their operations normal and not resort to other tactics during Ramadan. If they disobey, we will bring them under the law and punish them.”

Asked if the number of TCB’s OMS trucks will increase, he said: “There are more trucks now in the capital than before. About 130 trucks are selling at various points in Dhaka, and more than 500 CB trucks across the country. We will add more trucks if necessary, as both our dealers and trucks are ready.”

Jafar hoped that edible oil prices would come down as soon as possible, as import duty on the essential commodity was recently reduced.

“The price for a ton of edible oil in the international market in July last year was $700, but now it is $1300. Prices have almost doubled. In comparison, we have controlled its price in the domestic market. There is no need for customers to panic, as we have enough stocks,” he further said.

He added that a team from the commerce ministry will conduct a market intelligence study on the rise in oil prices. They will investigate whether the prices were hiked by manipulating or naturally.

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