Staff Correspondent: Amid the ongoing sugar crisis, the prices of sugar produced by state-owned factories have been hiked by Tk 14.
The maximum retail price of local sugar has been increased from Tk 85 to Tk 99 per kg ‘in accordance with international and domestic market prices’, the Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation said in a statement.
The price of each tonne of sugar produced by the corporation was previously Tk 74,000 at the mill level, and has now been increased to Tk 85,000. That is, the price of sugar per kg at the mill level will be Tk 85.
At the dealer level, the price of a tonne of sugar has been fixed at Tk 87,000. So the dealers will be able to buy sugar at Tk 87 per kg.
Also, the price of a 1 kg sugar packet at the mill gate has been increased from Tk 75 to Tk 90. The same packet can be purchased from the corporate super shops or the basement of the sugar industry building at Tk 92.
Bangladesh imports most of its refined sugar to meet the local demand of around 1.8 million to 2 million tonnes per annum. A maximum of 100,000 tonnes of ‘red’ sugar is produced by the state-owned sugar mills. They also refine imported unrefined sugar and supply it to the local markets.
The commerce ministry increased sugar prices by Tk 6 per kg on Oct 6 as demanded by the traders amid the increasing import cost caused by the dollar price hike. The price of refined but loose sugar was fixed at Tk 90 a kg in the retail markets while the price of packaged sugar stood at Tk 95 a kg.
Due to a supply shortage, packaged sugar was being sold at Tk 120 per kg for a few weeks. In some neighbourhoods, people complained that sugar was not available in the shops.
On Thursday, a kg of sugar was sold at Tk 105 to 115, up from Tk 90 to 92 per kg a month ago, according to a report from the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB).
The TCB began to sell sugar at a discounted price from its trucks on Oct 24 after the prices shot up in the market. A customer can buy a maximum of one kg of sugar at Tk 55 from the TCB trucks.
Officials of the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP) visited the wholesale and retail markets and also the refineries in Narayanganj on Oct 22 after the sugar prices shot up.
City and Fresh refineries’ papers showed their production had been reduced to half of their capacity, Magfur Rahman, assistant director of DNCRP had said. The company staff said the production was halved due to a gas crisis, Rahman said.
At a recent event, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said the imported sugar in stock would be enough to meet local demand until January. But lack of gas supply is disrupting the sugar refining process, he said.
“Mills are not able to produce more than 66 percent of their capacity due to the gas crisis,” Munshi said.He claimed the gas supply situation is improving and sugar production would be restored once the gas supply situation stabilises.
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