Tuesday 13 April 2021 ,
Tuesday 13 April 2021 ,
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5 April, 2021 06:58:45 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 6 April, 2021 11:09:54 PM
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Taming the prices of the essentials

The syndicate of traders and importers hike the prices in several phases at different times with no satisfactory reason. Price hike turns more frustrating ahead of the holy Ramadan and some other important events in the country.
Alaul Alam
Taming the prices of the essentials

It is common to understand that when the supply of a product in the market is not available, the consumers see price hike of the product and in another way when the demand is much more than the availability of a specific item of the essentials, it sees price hike. But it is really surprising that despite the fact that daily essentials are available in the market, the prices of these go up. This is called artificial price hike.

Obviously, the syndicates of traders and importers hike the prices in several phases at different times with no satisfactory reason. Price hike turns more frustrating ahead of the holy Ramadan and some other important events in the country. These days the wholesale and retail markets are controlled by the syndicates who are always intent to create an artificial crisis of many necessary commodities to gain more profits.

Again it is very unfortunate to notice that when the price of some specific products goes up for a certain reason, the increased price never falls down even after the situation goes normal. The price hike in the retail market is hardly tamed, rather the indifference of the concerned agencies to monitor the kitchen markets leads to the skyrocketing price of the essentials.

On top of that, the wholesaler and retailer are found to blame each other when they see pressures from the government. Most often the price hike of some necessities leap up every day once started. The concerned in most cases are not found to rein in the spiral of the essentials. Not only that, we see an imbalanced gap between the prices of the wholesale and retail markets.

For example, recently the government has set the price of edible oil adding extra four taka per litre to the existing price due to the price increase in the global market. But in the retail markets the consumers in most cases are compelled to pay more the price the government has fixed for edible oil and the price may differ at different kitchen markets and departmental stores. The lower and middle income people are the worst sufferers as the hike in price loses their buying ability of many daily necessities despite availability in the market.

Over the years the problem of price hike has been addressed from different angles of society but why we are not reining in the price of daily commodities in the kitchen market is causing consternation among people. Again things go beyond the description when the country is gripped with natural and man-made problems.

Last year when Covid-19 hit hard the country, consumers had to bear the brunt of price hike of essential commodities. Daily essentials such as rice, edible oil, pulses, onion, powdered milk, vegetables and potato showed a significant hike, hitting hard the people with small income tremendously.

From sheer panic and uncertainty thinking what would happen when the country would go into lockdown that made the affluent store every necessary product many times more than they usually need to run their households. Not only the rich but also the middle class people tried no stone unturned to gather products more than their necessities despite the frequent assurance by the government that there would be no dearth of the necessities.

This sort of panic buying made the dishonest traders create more profits causing market crisis by stocking the huge quantity of products hidden that caused a heavy blow for the poor and in many cases, they had to face the worst situation ever. Even people found sanitizers, mask and many other necessary items unavailable in the market and in many cases, the common people had to collect all those giving prices more than their usual prices during the first wave of coronavirus.

Could we remember the salt accumulating contest last year? How panicked the people were at that time! So far we could remember that hesitantly people were found busy collecting salt packets many times more than they would need. According to many shopkeepers, per kg salt was sold with hundred taka or more than that. Certainly this type of stupidity contributes to cruel price hike.

This year with the new surge of Covid-19, the government has again imposed lockdown for a week across the country in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus. But it is obvious that lockdown brings more woes to the informal labours and poor people as they have hardly any scopes for work. On top of that, there may be the chance of price hike as the dishonest syndicates are finding scopes to hike the prices of the products amid the lockdown and ahead of the holy Ramadan.

Again panic buying this time will cause another blow for the people with small income as the stockers would create artificial market crisis for gaining more profits although the ministry of commerce has urged people not to go for panic buying of essential goods, as there were enough stock and supply of commodities in the country.

To this end, we never want to see that some syndicates would take the privileges and cut dishonest deals leaving the people at stake. Concerted initiatives are needed to check such kind of fraudulence in the market during this critical time. Strict monitoring is needed to check any artificial price hike during the lockdown and before the upcoming Ramadan.

The writer teaches at Prime University and a research scholar at the IBS. Email: [email protected]

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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