Prices of some daily essential commodities continued to increase in kitchen markets across the country on Friday despite different measures taken by the government to check the price spiral.Many said the continuous hike in the prices of the commodities is exerting huge economic pressure on consumers.
Low-and middle-income people especially are facing trouble in incurring their monthly expenses due to the price spiral.
Recently, the government has taken some necessary measures, including month-long OMS and withdrawal of VAT, to check the hike in the prices of daily commodities.
It has decided to withdraw VAT on imports of edible oil, sugar and gram until June to keep the kitchen market stable ahead of Ramadan.
The Directorate of National Consumers' Rights Protection (DNCRP) has been conducting a special drive in wholesale and retail markets to check the price spiral.
The government has also started a month-long programme to sell daily commodities at subsidised rates throughout the country.Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Minister Md Tazul Islam said the government is trying to check the hike in the prices of essential commodities considering the plights of commoners.
The prices of the essentials have increased not only in Bangladesh but also in other countries, he told a programme in Cumilla.
The coronavirus pandemic contributed to a reduction in the production in many industries while transportation was shut down and fuel oil prices rose to a record level.
During a visit to kitchen markets, this correspondent found that prices of all varieties of rice, flour, palm oil, lentil, chickpeas, potato, onion, garlic, dry chili, turmeric, ginger, beef and some earlier variety of summer vegetable have increased further.
Prices of 12 food items have increased this week in the capital, according to a data of the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB).
The price of fine rice increased by 1.54 percent in a week and sold at Tk 62-70 per kg, medium quality rice increased by 3.77 percent and sold at Tk 52-58 per kg and coarse rice price increased by 2.13 percent and sold at Tk 46-50 per kg on Friday, according to the TCB.
The price of loose flour has increased by 7.14 percent in a week and was sold at Tk 35-40 per kg, loose maida has increased by 1.03 percent and was sold at Tk 48-50 percent and packet maida price has increased by 1.82 percent and was sold at 52-60 per kg on the day, it said.
The price of loose palm oil has increased by 0.32 percent in a week and sold at Tk 156-158 per liter, lentil has increased by 4.65 percent and sold at Tk 110-115 per kg, chickpeas increased by 1.35 percent and were sold at Tk 70-80 per kg and potato increased by 11.76 percent and was sold at Tk 18-20 per kg in the capital.
The price of local onion has increased by 9.09 percent in a week and was sold at Tk 55-65 per kg , imported onion price increased by 29.41 percent and was sold at Tk 45-65 per kg, local garlic price increased by 22.22 percent and was sold at Tk 40-70 per kg and imported onion price increased by 14.29 percent and was sold at Tk 110-130 per kg, according to TCB.
Local dry chili price increased by 6.06 percent in a week and was sold at Tk 150-200 per kg, imported dry chili price increased by 3.28 percent and was sold at Tk 280-350 per kg, turmeric price increased by 3.03 percent and was sold at Tk 160-180 per kg, local ginger price increased by 9.52 percent and was sold at Tk 90-140 per kg, imported ginger price increased by 12.50 percent and was sold at Tk 70-110 per kg and beef price increased by 4.10 percent and was sold at Tk 620-650 per kg, the TCB statistics show.It was found that earlier varieties of some summer vegetables sold at very high prices in Mohammadpur Krishi Market while supply of winter vegetables was too low.
Newly-harvested pointed guard was sold at Tk 120 per kg, yardlong bean was sold at TK 80-100 per kg, okra was sold at Tk 80-100 per kg and bitter guard was sold at TK 80-100 per kg.
Saidur Rahman, a vegetable trader, said the supply of winter vegetables has declined while earlier varieties of summer vegetables started to come to the markets amid the hike in their prices.
Among other vegetables, tomato was sold at Tk 30-40 per kg, cauliflower was sold at Tk 50-60 per kg, bean was sold at Tk 40-60 per kg, turnip was sold at TK 30-40 per kg, carrot was sold at Tk 20-30 per kg, guard was sold at Tk 50-60 per kg, red amaranth was sold at Tk 10-15 per bunch and spinach was sold at Tk 10-15 per bunch.
Broiler chicken was sold at Tk 160-165, sonali chicken was sold at Tk 290-320 per kg, farm eggs was sold at Tk 115 per dozen. Prices of these three items have not increased in the week.
LDA calls half-day strike on March 28
The Left Democratic Alliance (LDA), a coalition of country’s eight left-leaning political parties, has called a nationwide half-day hartal for March 28 to protest against the price hike.
LDA Coordinator Saiful Huq made the announcement at a press conference at Pragati auditorium of Mukti Bhaban, the office of the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), in the capital on Friday.