"We need two million tonnes of edible oil per year. But the country can supply only 200,000 tonnes. As a huge quantity of oil has to be imported, the rise of prices in the international market also affects the local market," Tipu added.

The minister said now the price of edible oil in the international market has gone up to Tk 8000-10,000 per container from Tk 2,000-2,500, resulting in price hike here. "So, the prices need to be readjusted one and a half or two months later."

If the prices are not readjusted, the traders will not open LCs ahead of Ramadan which may cause a horrible situation during the holy month, he added.

About the tendency of traders not to open LCs, Salman F Rahman, Private Sector Industry and Investment adviser to the prime minister, said, "If the traders don't want to open LCs, the government can force them. They won't import anything incurring losses. But we've to make sure they don't make excessive profits," he added.

The commerce minister said, "We've talked to them over the matter. We'll sit on 6 or 7 February and adjust the edible oil prices comparing the international market price and its associated costs. We made a decision in this regard today (Wednesday)."

Tipu Munshi urged the DCs to play a stronger role in keeping the prices of essentials stable during the holy month of Ramadan. They have been instructed to strengthen the market monitoring to keep the prices of key items at a tolerable level during the Ramadan.

"Ramadan is coming and we will fix the prices of some items and the DCs have been asked to monitor it strictly and take legal action," the commerce minister added.