Minister for Home Affairs Asaduzzaman Khan, MP, on Sunday called upon businesses to stabilise the prices of essential commodities during the holy month of Ramadan as people's incomes have been hit hard by Covid-19 in the country.
“The prices of daily essentials come down in all Muslim countries in the world during the month of Ramadan but the prices go up in Bangladesh in this time. So, we need assistance from businesses,” the minister said in a webinar of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) on “Law and order situation and keeping prices of essentials stable in the upcoming Ramadan.”The minister said Bangladesh will go for a hard lockdown to save lives from April 14. “We will take necessary steps for the sake of the countrymen. The extortion is under control now. We could not control it hundred percent but we are tough against it,” he added.
He urged all to maintain health advisories and instructions from the government. “We want the help of businessmen to keep the prices stable not only in the month of Ramadan but also all the year round. Law enforcement agencies are now largely capable and expert so you are requested to take their help any time,” he also added.
Mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh said, “We have to be united and work together to stabilise the market. DSCC has already formed a committee comprising nine councillors for market monitoring. We regularly conduct mobile courts. DSCC is a business friendly service organization. We will work for the greater interest of city dwellers.”
The mayor stressed on awareness for Covid-19. “We sometimes see negligence in terms of obeying health advisories. Coordinated efforts will help us to come out of this pandemic. Extortions are now very low and our fight against extortionists will continue,” he added.
DCCI President Rizwan Rahman said when the economy was in the way of recovery, at that moment the second wave of Covid 19 comes back. The worldwide supply chain and production are hampered and are responsible for inflation.
“Price hike in the international market and volatility in supply chain have an impact on price hike in Bangladesh. Besides, the issue of international market, creating artificial crisis by hoarding, lack of market monitoring, extortion in the transportation sector, increased transportation cost are some of the reasons of price spiral especially in the month of Ramadan,” he added.Mentioning SANEM survey, he said poverty rate rose to 42% due to pandemic which was 20.5% a year ago. In this scenario, if prices of essential commodities increased people will suffer a lot in the month of Ramadan.
To keep prices under control Rizwan suggested releasing essential goods from the port considering it as a priority. “Law enforcement agencies should take stern action against the extortionists in the transportation sector. We have adequate laws, but we need to execute the rules and laws.”
The Vice President of Consumer Association of Bangladesh S M Nazer Hossain said the essential market is unstable every year due to lack of market monitoring. There is also blame game between large and small businessmen.
He urged for a coordinated market monitoring system and also called upon the businessmen to accept lower profit margin in the pandemic crisis.