What is the logic behind increasing rice price by Tk 4: Tipu Munshi

Commerce minister Tipu Munshi
File photo

Commerce minister Tipu Munshi on Wednesday said, “The price of rice may increase by a maximum of 50 paisa per kg due to the price hike of fuel oil. However, the price of rice has increased by Tk 4. What is the logic behind that? The traders are taking this opportunity and when they do, they do it absolutely.”

The commerce minister said this while addressing a press conference at the secretariat on Wednesday.

The commerce ministry organised the press conference to provide updates on Trading Corporation Bangladesh (TCB) programme of selling products at subsidised prices to 10 million low-income families. Commerce secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh was present at the press conference.

In reply to a question regarding the steps taken by the government to control the price of commodities, the commerce minister said, “The government is trying to control the price of daily essentials. However, we have to keep it in mind that it is not possible to control prices overnight. I don’t know when Vladimir Putin will end the war. But, I must admit that the people are suffering. The prime minister is trying hard. I hope the prices of commodities will come down to a tolerable level by this October.”

He further said a negotiation is ongoing to import eggs. However, the final decision in this regard is yet to be taken.

Speaking regarding the proposal to increase the price of edible oil by Tk 20, Tipu Munshi said, “A proposal has been made to increase the edible oil price. We are yet to take any decision on this. The price of the oil will be adjusted by analysing the price of dollar and oil in the international market.”

The commerce minister further said there was a huge gap of information in the research conducted by the TIB (Transparency International Bangladesh) on the list of beneficiaries of the step TCB has taken. The research failed to provide accurate information, he added.

According to the TIB research, published on 11 August, some 39 per cent of the people did not get the family card. Some 80 per cent of the respondents said they could not secure a family card due to irregularities and corruption.

Asked about this, the commerce minister said, “TIB conducted the survey on only 1,047 people out of 10 million families. It is not possible to get actual figures by conducting a survey on such a small number of people.”

Tipu Munshi further said already some 9.5 million family cards have been prepared and some 500,000 are remaining. Of these, 350,000 cards are for the residents of Dhaka South City Corporation and the remaining are for people outside Dhaka.

Product distribution through the TCB programme would continue, the minister added.