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Bangladesh - 3 weeks ago

Govt faces crisis over inability to control commodity prices

Staff Correspondent: The parliament members have expressed heavy reaction in the Jatiya Sangshad in the discussion of passing anew bill.
The Act has been amended by changing the name of the post of Secretary of the Trade and Tariff Commission. Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission (Amendment) Bill-2024 was passed in the National Parliament on Tuesday.
They said that it is the responsibility of the commerce ministry to break up the syndicates and make daily products available to the poor people. But the Ministry of Commerce does not have the power to break syndicates and control commodity prices. The government is in danger of not regulating the market.
State Minister for Commerce Ahsanul Islam took up the bill in Parliament for passage. After sending the public opinion on the bill to the committee and settling the amendment proposals, the bill was passed by voice vote.
According to the new law, the post of secretary of Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission will be named as Director (Administration and Finance). Jatiya Party MP Hafiz Uddin Ahmed said in the amendment discussion on the bill, the job of the Ministry of Commerce is to control the price of goods. There is an organization called TCB which sells products at fair prices in the market. I have seen that a card has been given at the upazila level, with which five-six products have to be purchased. Many people can’t take it. The one that is not required should also be taken from TCB. This is the work of the Ministry of Commerce! Take what is not needed, take what is needed. If they had not brought this law, they would have brought a law to control the market, they would have brought a law to break syndicates – then I would have thought that the Ministry of Commerce was doing something good. At various times they try to control the market. The market is fine when they go. But when they leave, they return to the state they were in. Doubles up. I don’t know that the Ministry of Commerce has powers like breaking syndicates, controlling commodity prices.
Hafiz Uddin Ahmed said that the prices of all products have increased in the market. He said, the price of medicine is increasing uncontrollably. I don’t know where the companies will take billions of taka profit. Drug companies evade duty, bring raw material with low duty but the price is high in our country. If the price of medicine was controlled, people would get better treatment. There is talk of reducing the price of cancer drugs, kidney treatment by law. Are these companies outside? Is it the East India Company? Our native owner. Do they have no conscience? What percentage is profiting? 100 percent profit. Those who sell in shops pay 30-40 percent tax. Many medicines do not have prices written on them. For that, I will request the Ministry of Commerce to regulate the market. The state of human lamentation. Despite all the development and achievements of Awami League, the government is in danger because it does not control the market.
Independent MP Pankaj Nath said that the bill is not in the interest of the people. Here is just a word change. People’s interest would be there only if the duty of Tariff Commission is to fix the prices of consumer goods, commodities, availability in market, coordination of import and production and easy delivery to the people. Breaking syndicates and making daily commodities available to poor people. In that case, the government is advised to increase the work of the tariff commission. The Tariff Commission does not do that but only the post of Secretary.

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