Despite low supply, oil is being sold at the rate fixed by the government. One litre of bottled soybean oil is being sold at Tk 160. The retailers in Chattogram say the dealers of the companies are supplying soybean oil at a rate of Tk 157 to 158.

The crisis of soybean oil is also visible in the capital’s Karwan Bazar, the biggest wholesale market of the country. Prothom Alo has spoken to several buyers of the market. Each one of them said they were not getting enough oil from the distributors. The crisis of oil has begun since the start of Ramadan and now the situation is such that they have no products in their stock. As a result, the buyers are returning empty handed, without buying oil.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Md Shahnewaz, owner of wholesale store New Sonargaon General Store in Karwan Bazar, said, “At least 20 big restaurants in Dhanmondi, Farmgate, Banani and Moghbazar, including renowned chain restaurants of the country, buy oil from us. However, we couldn’t supply them with oil on Monday due to the oil crisis. This has been the case since the beginning of Ramadan. However, the situation is severe now. If the mills do not release products within the next one or two days the situation will get worse.”

Md Yasin, owner of Yasin Enterprise of the same market, echoed Shahnewaz. He said, “The mill owners assured that there would be no shortage of soybean oil in the market amid Ramadan. In reality, the market situation is just the opposite. The supply of oil has been controlled since the beginning of Ramadan. And now there is almost no supply of oil. Despite being an oil shop, we are now selling flour. However, the traders have mustard oil in their stock. Therefore, many are buying mustard oil failing to get soybean oil.”

The situation in Chattogram is the same as Dhaka. Md Shahdat Hossain, owner of Shah Amanat Departmental Store in the Bahaddarhat kitchen market in Chattogram, told Prothom Alo, “The companies are not supplying oil despite the demand. Only one company is supplying oil today (Monday). That too is quite less than the demand.”

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Abdullah Al Noman, owner of Noman Store in Karnaphuli Complex, another market in Chattogram, said, “The demand for oil is high before Eid. But only one of our companies has supplied oil so far. If the demand is 100 litres, we are getting 50 litres.”

Same scenario in the wholesale market

The situation in the wholesale market is more or less the same as the retail market. Soybean and palm oil sales in Khatunganj, the country's largest wholesale market, have declined.

The traders in the market said, companies provide supply orders to the market through distributors. The companies have not been providing new supply orders for edible oil for a month. The old supply orders used to get exchanged. Now it has also come down.

Asked about this, Shahed Ul Alam, owner of wholesale company RM Enterprise in Khatunganj, said, “The companies are not providing supply orders as before. As a result, the sale of edible oil in the wholesale market is practically non-existent now.”

Asked about the oil crisis, officials of two edible oil manufacturing companies of the country said they had to sell the oil at a rate much less than the price they paid to import. Therefore they are importing little amounts of oil in phases and supplying accordingly. Due to the instability in the international market, the importers do not want to take the risk of importing large amounts of oil.

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