Enamul Hafiz Latifee reports,
Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) has been tasked to sell onion at a rate of Taka 25 per kilogram as part of the government campaign to reach essentials to people at grassroots at reduced price amid COVID-19 pandemic and Ramadan, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said today, 07 May 2020.
“TCB will sell the onion at a lower price through its 3,000 dealers from 500 spots across the country,” he said at a briefing in the ministry’s conference room.
Munshi said onion is now being imported from India that ensured its adequate supplies while from now on TCB would include the product in its selling list alongside edible oil, sugar, lentil, gram, and date.
According to the market monitors, the current onion price in the market ranges between Taka 45 and 50 while it cost Taka 60 to 65 two weeks ago.
“We have sufficient stock of these items (on TCB sale) . . . TCB could sell the items for few more months after the Ramadan,” Munshi said.
The Minister appreciated two private trading entities City and Meghna groups for supplementing government efforts to ensure supply of essentials at a fair price.
He said the government has announced different stimulus packages and facilities to keep running businesses and economic activities as COVID-19 pandemic forced a nationwide shutdown while his office took all measures to ensure sufficient stock and supply of essentials at a fair price.
“Stern action is being taken against the quarters who are trying to hike prices artificially,” he told the briefing joined as well by Commerce Secretary Dr. Md Jafar Uddin, TCB Chairman Brigadier General Md Hasan Jahangir, Director General of National Consumer Right Protection Bablu Kumar Saha and Additional Secretary Md Obaidul Azam.
The briefing came as market monitors and consumers said kitchen markets in the capital and other major cities witnessed a decline of prices of staples including rice, eggs, and edible oils and other essential commodities in the past one week, indicating their smoother supplies despite the nationwide shutdown.
Consumers and market monitors said prices of imported garlic, ginger, dates, and chick-pea showed a downtrend in the city markets alongside edible oils of all types like soybean, palm and super palm oil, imported garlic, ginger, egg, chick-pea, and dates showed a downtrend in the city markets.
TCB, also a major state-run market monitor, last week had reported that the medium quality rice was sold at Taka 50-55 per kg while coarse rice at Taka 42-50.
“The price of medium quality BR-28 and the imported coarse variety ‘Guti Shawrna’ has reduced by Taka 2-3 per kg this week compare to the last week’s price,” said Mohammad Mostafa, a retailer of Sheikh General Store of Mirpur Rupnagar Area.
Rice Arotdar Samity General Secretary Nirod Baran Saha, however, said the price of all sorts of rice reduced by Taka 6-7 per kg.
TCB’s monthly statistics show prices of edible oil fell by 8.78 percent, ginger by 9.68 percent, chick-pea by 6.75 percent, imported garlic by 6.67 percent, eggs by 1.82 percent and dates by 5.45 percent.
“There is no scope of price hike of staples as the rice price has shown downtrend when only 5 to 10 percent rice crop has been harvested,” Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder earlier today told, reported by BSS.
He added the price would fall further when the volume of rice harvest would progress.
Majumder said the government was simultaneously carrying out special open market sale (OMS) of rice at Taka 10 per kg particularly for the poorer people.
Each person is getting a maximum of 5 kg of rice once a week after showing the national identity card (NID) while for every center in Dhaka, 3 tonnes of rice is allocated every day while 2 tonnes for every center outside Dhaka.