Thursday, 23 March, 2023

‘Fruit traders can open LCs once dollar crisis is over’

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 9 February, 2023 12:00 AM
  • Print news

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said traders can resume opening of Letter of Credit (LC) for fruit imports once the current dollar crisis is over.

“Fruits are now grown abundantly in the country. We should ensure good prices for those locally produced fruits. However, traders can resume LC opening once the situation improves,” he said.

The commerce minister was speaking to reporters on Wednesday at the Secretariat as he emerged from a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase (CCGP). Agriculture Minister Dr. Abdur Razzaque chaired the meeting.

Importers are having problems opening LCs to import fruits ahead of Ramadan, the peak season for fruit demand in the country, resulting in a continuous rise in fruit prices in the local market.

Tipu Munshi said, "Locally grown fruits are now available in plenty in the market. We’ve to keep in mind that any of our moves doesn’t hurt foreign currency reserves.”

“Besides, we want locally produced fruits to get a fair price. So, this (LCs opening) has been restricted slightly. The restrictions will be lifted at a better time,” he added.

He insisted that the country now needs to save dollars. “We’re putting emphasis on the essential items (for imports) which are compulsory.”

Small businessmen are facing different types of problems in imports because of the acute dollar crisis. LC opening is allowed on a limited scale, which has a negative impact on fruit imports, leading to volatility in the fruit market.

There is also an allegation that fruit vendors are making hefty profit by cashing in on the crisis moment.

In reply to a question whether the government has any plan to lower commodity prices during Ramadan, Tipu Munshi informed that the government is procuring essential commodities for Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) every month and procuring more ahead of Raman as a tool for stabilising the heated-up market.

He reiterated that there would be no crisis of essential commodities during the fasting month.