Home Bangladesh Prices of consumer products rise by 800 pc in 15-yr
Bangladesh - June 15, 2024

Prices of consumer products rise by 800 pc in 15-yr

Farhad Chowdhry: The price of consumer goods has increased by 310 percent in the last five years in the country, which has increased by more than 800 percent during last 15 years.
“My salary has at least doubled in the last fifteen years. This should make my day better. But no, the situation is worse than before. If the salary increases by one rupee, the price of goods increases by five rupees. Earlier there was something in the pocket by spending the month. Now the salary is not enough,” Tanin Ahmed, an official of a private company, was speaking about his situation in a very regretful tone.

Low-income people are worse off than middle-class people like them due to the constant rise in commodity prices.
Tahera Begum has been working as a maid in several houses in Badda area for the past four months. He said that one of the major reasons for working at home is that it provides him with two meals a day.
“When I go to the market, I take Tk 500, I could not do the market for two hours properly. The child wants to eat meat, I can’t give it. The government is for the big people, not for us,” said Tahera Begum.
This lamentation of the common people clearly shows how much of a challenge the recent rise in commodity prices has created for the ruling Awami League.
The party has been ruling the government for the past 15 years with three consecutive terms since coming to power in early 2009. No other party has been in power for such a long period of time in the history of Bangladesh.
Every election manifesto promises to keep the prices of goods within the affordability of people, but during this one and a half decade rule, the prices of most products have increased several times.
According to a recent survey conducted on the basis of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics or BBS data review and data collected by Bangladesh Institute of Development Research (BIDS) on their own initiative, food price inflation has reached a record 15 percent this year.
On the other hand, according to the Center for Policy Dialogue-CPD, a private research organization, the price of consumer goods alone has increased by 310 percent in the last five years in the country.
No formula is working
Analysts say, for so long, the leaders of the party have argued that the post-corona situation and the Russia-Ukraine war, the fluctuations in the prices of goods in the global market, and the dollar crisis are the reasons behind the increase in prices, but now there is no such opportunity.
Because they themselves say there is enough stock of internally produced food products. But it has been seen that the price has increased as before.
On the other hand, the prices of the products which are imported from abroad have decreased in the world market, but it is not reflected in the Bangladesh market.
CPD research says that the prices of rice, sugar, soybean oil, beef are higher in Bangladesh than in the world market.
In such a situation, the government has taken various initiatives to control the market by fixing the prices of consumer goods, carrying out raids, imposing fines, importing products from abroad, but the situation has not changed.
Many blame the rise in commodity prices on ‘business syndicates’, with whom the ruling party is alleged to have close ties. However, the rulers have always denied that they are close to the government. But several times in the past, government ministers or MPs have openly spoken about the violence of the syndicate.
During the Parliament session on June 26 last year, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi came under severe criticism and anger from the leaders of the opposition parties in the National Parliament for allegedly failing to control the price hike and syndicates.
In response to such criticism, the minister said, “It is possible to take action against the market syndicate, including jail and fine.” It’s true that big groups do a lot of business together.”
On May 11, 2023, the then Minister of State for Industry Kamal Ahmed Majumdar said on the occasion that a strong syndicate of dishonest traders has been created in both the economy and the market. Due to which the small entrepreneurs are dropping out and the prices of the products are increasing causing instability in the market. People are now crying while going to market.
There is already the Price Control and Anti-Hoarding Act of 1953. Consumer Goods Conservation Act was enacted in 2009.
Competition Act was enacted in 2012 and Bangladesh Competition Commission was formed in 2016 to rein in syndicates. The Agricultural Products Marketing Act was enacted in 2018.
But unfortunately, the judicial system required to enforce existing laws often does not work.
‘Distortion in Market Management’
Economist Debapriya Bhattacharya blames the government’s lack of control over market management and lack of transparency in information about supply and demand in the market behind this rampant price hike.
According to him, the government, while identifying the problems, is not doing anything about the need to formulate a comprehensive economic strategy to solve them. They are not going for any structural reforms.
Referring to the government’s market management weakness, Mr. Bhattacharya said, “Where the supply of goods is normal, where the communication system is better than before, the market is organized, the only reason for the price increase is that the entire supply system is controlled by a few people. Those vested interests are exerting influence over the government.”
Meanwhile, the government itself has admitted weakness in market management. State Minister for Commerce Ahsanul Islam Titu told BBC Bangla, “There is no way to deny it. We need to make our supply system more efficient to reach the agricultural produce from the producer to the consumer. We haven’t done enough refrigeration yet. Due to this, the shelf life of perishable products like onion and potato cannot be increased. We have a lot of room for improvement.”
However, he cited the depreciation of the dollar and rising costs in the transport sector as the primary reasons for the rise in prices.
Earlier, the higher levels of the government admitted the existence of syndicates but they did not appear to take any drastic steps to protect the buyers.
From the list of daily commodity prices given by consumer rights organization CAB, it can be seen that the prices of daily commodities were mostly on the upward trend for the last 15 years.
Cab List, Trading Corporation of Bangladesh’s (TCB) market price list shows how the prices of nine such commodities, including coarse rice, have reached this level step by step:
Coarse rice and lentils
According to Cab List, the price of coarse rice in 2009 was between Tk 23 to Tk 28 per kg depending on the variety. In 2014, the price of this rice increased to an average of 34 to 37 taka per kg in a span of five years.
Meanwhile, in a meeting of the government’s Food Planning and Procurement Committee (FPMC) last April, it was informed that the price of coarse rice has increased by more than 56 percent in the last five years in the country.
In March 2020, the average price of coarse rice in the country was 31 taka 46 paisa, which stood at 49 taka 11 paisa in March this year. The price of rice has increased continuously in these five years.
On the other hand, according to the research organization Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), the price of coarse rice has increased by 30 percent in 2024 compared to 2019 in five years. The price of rice in Bangladesh is higher than in Thailand and Vietnam.
A Bangladesh Institute of Development Research (BIDS) study in 2022 showed that a very poor person spends 32 percent of his expenditure on rice.
In case of poor people, this rate is 29 percent. Apart from this, a person who is not poor spends one-fifth of his expenditure on buying rice.
The CPD report lists 16 countries where per capita GDP (gross domestic product) is higher than that of Bangladesh, yet consumers in those countries spend less on food than people in Bangladesh.
CPD says that profiteers are profiting more from products that are used by the poor, the middle class and sell more in the market.
Meanwhile, according to Cab List, the average price of lentils per kg in 2009 was Tk 111 per kg. Which is currently being sold between 120 and 150 rupees depending on the variety.
Analyzing the price of lentils in 15 years, it was found that the price of this product rose up to Tk 140 in 2016 and 2023. If not, most of the time its price was between 120 to 130 taka per kg. According to CPD data, the price of lentils has increased by 95 percent in the last five years.
Potatoes and Eggs (Farm and Domestic)
According to the cab list, the average price of potatoes in 2009 was Tk 25 to Tk 26 per kg depending on the variety. In 2011, this price decreased to a minimum of 14 rupees.
Then the price increased step by step in 2014 from 19 to 21 taka per kg. In 2019, it increased from Tk 30 to Tk 32 per kg.
However, at the end of last year, the price of potatoes increased to a record amount and stood at 65 to 70 taka per kg. But currently, according to TCB, the price of potato is between Tk 50 to Tk 60 per kg.
Meanwhile, according to Cab’s calculations, the prices of farm red and white chicken eggs and domestic chicken eggs have also increased step by step. In 2009, the price of eggs was between Tk 28 and Tk 30 per egg.
Which increased to 30 to 42 taka in 2014. In 2019, the price of a single egg increased by 36 rupees.
But last year, the price of chicken eggs increased by a record from 50 to 58 rupees per egg. As of TCB, this price is currently maintained.
Meat (beef and broiler chicken)
The beef market has seen the highest rise in prices in the last decade and a half. The price of beef per kg in 2009 was Tk 218 as cab. Which increased to 300 taka per kg in 2014. The next year, the price increased by 100 taka per kg.
In 2019, this price increased to Tk 541 per kg. It stands at six hundred taka in 2021. At present beef is being sold at Tk 750 to Tk 780 per kg as TCB. Due to such prices, low-income people expect to eat beef only on Eid al-Adha.
According to CPD data, the price of beef has increased by 58 percent to Tk 765 per kg in the last five years. At the same time, meat is being sold at Tk 663 per kg in the world market.
Meanwhile, the price of broiler chicken has always fluctuated slightly. In 2009, the price of broiler chicken was Tk 118 per kg as cab.
Which in 2014 was Tk 147 per kg, in 2019 the price was close to that. But last year the price of broiler chicken exceeded all records. Price per kg increased from 235 to 240 taka. According to CPD data, the price of broiler chicken has increased by 60 percent in the last five years.
edible oil (soybean)
However, the price of edible oil per liter has seen some ups and downs in the last 15 years. In 2009, the price of edible oil was Tk 82 to Tk 85 per liter on an average.
In 2014, it increased from 103 to 117 taka per liter. However, in 2019, the price decreased slightly to Tk 85 to Tk 105 per litre.
Which is currently being sold at Tk 145 to Tk 165 per litre. Which last year i.e. in 2023 was 175 to 195 taka per liter, in 2022 it was more than 10 taka.
As edible oil is an imported product, the government has said that the price has gone up in the global market. However, even though the price of oil in the international market has fallen since last year, the consumers of Bangladesh have not benefited from it.
According to CPD data, the price of open soybean oil has increased by 84 percent in the mentioned five years and is being sold at Tk 150 per liter. Similarly, the price of bottled soybean oil increased by 56 percent to Tk 163.
But at the same time soybean oil is being distributed in the world market at Tk 105 per kg. Excluding import costs and duties, the product is being sold at a higher price in the country’s market.
Onion’s name has come up several times in recent years in the price debate. In 2009, the price of desi onion per kg was Tk 38 per kg as cab.
Which increased to 65 taka per kg in 2015. Then the price went up and down at different times. However, at the end of 2019, onion prices broke all previous records and stood at Tk 250 per kg. At present, according to TCB, onion stands at Tk 85 per kg.
According to CPD data, onion prices have increased by 164 percent in the last five years. On the other hand, garlic prices have increased by 310 percent, which is the highest. Apart from this, the price of dry chili has increased by 105 percent, ginger by 205 percent and turmeric powder by 70 percent.
Meanwhile, the price of sugar has also fluctuated in the last decade and a half. In 2009, the price of sugar per kg was Tk 44.
Which increased step by step to 57 taka and then decreased to 48 taka per kg in 2014. After that the price of sugar increased to 68 taka and in 2019 it decreased slightly to 57 taka. After that the price only increased.
Last in February this year, the Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industry Corporation (BSFIC) fixed the maximum retail price of government mill sugar at Tk 160. Which is a record price of sugar in the country’s market. But currently (June 2nd estimate) sugar per kg is being sold at Tk 135 per kg as per TCB.
According to CPD data, the price of sugar has increased by 152 percent in the last five years to Tk 130 per kg. However, the price of sugar per kg in the European Union market at this time is 39 taka and in the US market it is 96 taka. That is, the average product was sold at Tk 50 per kg in the world market.
Not being able to control the prices of consumer goods is a major failure for the government, economists say.
CPD research says food inflation has been abnormal since 2019. Although people’s income is low, they have to spend the most on food.
Mr. According to Bhattacharya, due to food price inflation, lower middle class people have reduced their food intake. Because of this, they can no longer get the amount of nutrition they used to spend on education and health.
The protective measures taken by the government to provide food aid to the people at low prices are not enough compared to the demand. And there is corruption there too, he said. Again, in the case of products whose prices are not increasing much, it is seen that the quantity of products is being reduced.
Due to this rise in commodity prices, many Awami League field level leaders and activists have reported that they are under a lot of pressure locally. A Trinamool leader, who did not wish to be named, expressed his anger and said that the party will have to pay the political price one day if it does not rein in the prices.

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