Edible oil price hike
Mahfuja Mukul: The Global Economist Forum (GEF), a consultant body of the United Nations has demanded exemplary punishment against the involved oil gamblers in Bangladesh during the holy month of Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr, the main festival of the majority Muslim community. The unscrupulous traders must face music according to the prevailing law of the country otherwise, Bangladesh has to face more artificial crisis for its imported consumers goods, the GEF added.
Similarly, Kansas Consumers Society (CCS), a non-governmental consumer rights group, has demanded that those responsible for creating an artificial crisis in edible oil be held hostage. Instead of the usual raids, they were prosecuted and arrested under the existing law.
In a statement to the media on Monday, CCS executive director Palash Mahmud said that despite the rise in soybean oil prices by Tk 36 per liter after Eid-ul-Fitr, the oil crisis has been created in the market. Oil stored secretly by various dealers and traders is being recovered under the supervision of the National Consumer Protection Department. This proves that by creating an artificial crisis of edible oil, the consumer is being held hostage and extra price is being collected.
The statement further said that the market is being destabilized by creating artificial crisis and syndicating various products like oil at different times. But in most cases, unscrupulous traders are not stopping immoral activities because of the small fines. On the contrary, the tendency to hold consumers hostage has spread to the grassroots.
The organization claims that the artificial crisis has now turned into a social disorder as no exemplary action has been taken against these criminals. In a statement, Palash Mahmud said Bangladesh has an annual demand of about 2 million tonnes of edible oil.
Excluding its own supply, it has to import 16 lakh tonnes of oil.
According to the National Board of Revenue (NBR), more than 1.7 million tonnes of oil has been imported in the last one year. As a result, there is no oil crisis in the country. The National Department of Consumer Protection, the supply of oil from the mill is normal. But the price of edible oil abnormally hiked in the market.
The executive director of CCS further said that in the lure of extra profit, unscrupulous traders at the dealer and retail level have created an artificial crisis and destabilized the market. At the same time, it has left the government in disarray. As a result, it is time to take strict action against them.
But with only one officer at the district level of the department and the power of punishment in law is very limited, it is impossible to provide adequate services to 160 million consumers working day and night.
At the same time, Palash Mahmud demanded increase in the manpower of the consumer department to take action against these criminals.
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