Now, it’s salt price!

Rumour hiked price despite adequate supply

Special Correspondent

20 November, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Now it is the price of salt after onion and was selling Tuesday for upto Tk 50 per kg blamed on a rumour allegedly spread by a syndicate.

The essential kitchen item has increased minimum 133.33 percent and maximum 200 percent with fears that the salt price will increase further in coming days like in the case of onion.

Per kilogram of the wholesale salt tariff is at TK 46-50 now which was only TK 30 per kilogram Monday.   

Now, per kilogram of retail tariff of different brands of salt was priced at Tk 70 or above.

That meant a minimum hike of 133.33 percent per kilogram.

Besides, per kilo of raw salt is Tk 160 whereas the same quantity of refine salt (packet) is Tk 2,800 in the retail market.  

The Ministry of Industries on Tuesday said that there are over 6.5 lakh metric tons of edible salt in the country which is adequate as per the demand of the people, reports BSS.

“Out of the 6.5 lakh metric tons salt, there are around 4.05 lakh metric tons in the farmers of the Cox’s Bazar and Chattogram while around 2.45 lakh metric tons in the warehouses of the different salt mills,” said a press release of the Ministry of Industries on Tuesday.

Md Mostaque Hasan, chairman of Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) under ministry of industries said, “There’s no shortage of salt. At present, the salt stock in the country is much higher than the demand.”

An unholy syndicate is trying to reap benefits by spreading misleading information through online media, he said. “The people of the country are requested not to get confused.”

Leading ACI Salt managing director Sayed Alam said, “We have enough stock to feed the supply chain of salt in the market.” He said the salt price hike was due to a rumor.

“We will punish our distributors if anyone was found responsible for price hike,” he claimed.

Pubali Salt owner Paritush Kanti Shah said they have sufficient stock of salt.

“We are selling the packet salt at Tk 35 per Kg and non-packet salt at Tk 25 per kg and there is no reason to hike the salt,” he said.

Talking about the hike of the salt price, Khurshed Alam, a retailer at Solmaid Bazar said, “I have purchased per kg of salt at TK 30 from ACI and Molla brand salts last week….it’s now seek Tk 46 per KG today.”

“I requested the miller to supply five bags of salts that carry 25 kg each as per the miller prices…but they have switched off their telephones and other modes communication since this (Tuesday) morning,” he said.

He admitted that the demand for his shop was only three bags or 75 kg per month. But he tried to stock additional 25 kg of salt taking to make additional profit.

Besides, some grocery shop owners at city’s Dhanmondi, Mohakhali, Rampura, Uttara and other places also stopped the sale of salt Tuesday to sell at a hiked price from Wednesday.

Some chain-shop owners are also selling per kg of salt at Tk 70 or above taking advantage of rumor.

On Tuesday morning, some panic-struck mothers waiting at different schools gate, also queued up to purchase other essential items in nearby grocery stores.

Besides, this correspondent also found different picture also as a grocery shop owner at Bashundhara gate sales per kg of salt as per the actual rate of Tk 35 despite hike in different shop.

Zobari Ahmed, a raw salt producer at Kutubdia said by telephone, that the government should control the syndicate who imported industrial salt (sodium sulfate) and marketing as edible salt (Sodium carbonate) to stablise the salt market.  

“We are selling 40 kg salt at a cost of Tk 160 in field. Which producer has incurred a loss of Tk 100 per kg,” he said.

He said per kg of raw salt at a cost of Tk 4 in field. “How dare they are to sales per kg at Tk 70 or above,” he said.

It should not be maximum Tk 20 per kilogram after refine it, he opined.  

He said Narayanganj based some millers control the salt market prices across the country and they are responsible to marketing industrial salt in the name of edible salt.

“Due to illegal import of salt, the salt farmers are deprived of fair prices and some farmers plan to quit salt production,” he said.          

The BSCIC chairman said the salt stock in the country was 6.50 lakh metric tonnes on November 15 and the country saw record salt production in 2018-2019 fiscal year – 12.24 lakh metric tonnes - which was much higher than the target.

A control room has been opened at the BSCIC headquarters (Phone No: 02-9573505) for salt-related all information.