Thursday, 7 July, 2022
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Efforts on to import wheat from 5 alternative sources: Tipu Munshi

Efforts on to import wheat from 5 alternative sources: Tipu Munshi

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said on Monday that the government is trying to import wheat from five alternative sources, including Ukraine after India banned the exports of the food grain.

India has announced a ban on wheat exports amid the devaluation of taka against the US dollar, he said while addressing a dialogue organised by Bangladesh Secretariat Reporters Forum (BSRF) at the Secretariat.

“But hopefully, India will consider it in case of neighbouring countries. We are continuing negotiations,” he added.

The minister said the government, instead of controlling the market of daily commodities, should work to keep it stable.

“We are business friendly. We fix the price in line with the global market. If there is a fixed price in the market, the market will remain stable,” said the minister.

He said when the situation in the global market is stable the domestic market also stays stable.

There is a minor issue with the prices of edible oil, sugar and lentils.

“We have to import 90 per cent of the edible oil. The price increases in our country in line with the global market,” he added.

The Russia-Ukraine war has had a huge impact on the food products, he said. And so the minister urged all to be accommodative as there is some crisis ahead.

 “There is nothing to be afraid of the ongoing situation in Sri Lanka. Many are saying that Bangladesh can be in such a situation. But there is no such possibility. In fact, we have provided financial assistance to Sri Lanka.”

Regarding onions, he said the price of onion is a little higher now, yet within reach of the consumers.

He said the Agriculture Ministry has stopped the IP of onions. “We are ensuring that the farmers get the fare price, at least Tk 25 per kg, as the production cost is around Tk 18-20 per kg. Besides, we are focusing on the fact that consumers can buy onions at Tk 45 per kg, including transportation and other expenses.”

Meanwhile, regarding steps against the edible oil traders, Tipu said legal action has been taken against many and some have been sent to jail. “However, I do not want to create a volatile situation in the market.”

He also reiterated that trusting traders was a mistake. “We made a mistake by not fixing the edible oil price for the last two months in a row. If we had, they would not have taken the opportunity.”

Presided over by BSRF President Tapan Biswas, the dialogue was moderated by BSRF General Secretary Masudul Hoque.