Home Uncategorized Supply of consumer goods increased but price not down
Uncategorized - February 19, 2024

Supply of consumer goods increased but price not down

Ayub Ali : The government wants to keep the prices of daily necessities affordable in the country around the upcoming month of Ramadan. In this regard, the relevant ministries are conducting coordinated activities. Traders also gave a message of relief about consumer goods. They say that enough sugar, edible oil, chickpeas, lentils and dates have been imported in view of Ramadan. If everything goes well, people will not have to suffer with consumer goods in the upcoming Ramadan. However, consumers remain worried about market syndicates and hoarders who create artificial crisis of daily commodities.
Khatunganj, the second largest market for consumer goods in the country, has increased the supply of consumer goods around Ramadan. Prices of some products have also started to come down. Traders say that the price of consumer goods is not likely to increase during Ramadan. However, consumer rights organizations say that the government needs strict monitoring to keep prices under control. Road extortion should be stopped in the transportation of goods.
According to the Chittagong Customs sources, during the seven months and 12 days of the current fiscal year (2023-24) (from July 1, 2023 to February 12, 2024), 94 thousand 757 tons of chickpeas, 75,643 tons of peas, 75,643 tons of lentils, and 75,643 tons of lentils were cleared through Chittagong port. 2 lakh 21 thousand 696 tons, soybean oil 3 lakh 49 thousand 761 tons, palm oil 10 lakh 71 thousand 159 tons and crude sugar (raw sugar) 9 lakh 1 thousand 120 tons were released. 14,121 tons of fresh dates were imported and 908 tons of dried dates were imported. Besides, traders of Chittagong are importing chickpeas and lentils from India through the land port.
Among the imported consumer goods, 79,885 tons of chickpeas, 1 thousand 143 tons of peas, 76,661 tons of lentils, 89,906 tons of soybean oil, 19,403 tons of palm oil were released in the 43 days from January 1 to February 12 this year, 1 lakh 39 thousand 532 tonnesraw sugar, fresh dates 5,229 tonnes and dried dates 84 tonnes.
Talking to the traders of Khatunganj, it is known that due to the dollar crisis, the price of products has increased compared to the previous year. Still, importers open enough LCs (letters of credit) under various government initiatives to keep the supply chain of consumer goods running during Ramadan.
Especially, the government has taken early steps to keep the prices of consumer goods normal. Bangladesh Bank has made it possible to import products that are in high demand during Ramadan through 90-day suppliers or buyer’s credit. As a result, the old importers now have the opportunity to import the rest of the products. But in most cases of LC opening importers import Ramadan consumables even with minimum payment. Importers will get this special benefit till March 31 this year.
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) announced on February 8 to reduce the duty on rice, oil, sugar and dates ahead of Ramadan. The organization issued a separate notification in this regard. As per notification issued by NBR, import duty on import of parboiled and parboiled rice has been completely withdrawn. At the same time, the regulatory duty (regulatory duty) on the import of these rice has been reduced from 25 to 5 percent. Rice importers will get this facility till May 15 this year.
On the other hand, the import duty on the import of unrefined sugar has been reduced to Tk 1,000 per ton, which was Tk 1,500 per ton earlier. And on the import of refined sugar, the import duty has been reduced to Tk 2,000 per ton, which was earlier three thousand taka. This facility of duty exemption will remain in force till March 31.
In addition, value added tax (VAT) at the production and business level of refined soybean and palm oil has been completely withdrawn. In this, no VAT has to be paid till April 15 at the production and trading level of refined soybean and palm oil in the country. Apart from this, the 15% VAT at the import level has been reduced to 10% for the import of refined and unrefined soybean oil and palm oil from abroad. That means 5 percent VAT has been reduced at the import level of soybeans and palm oil. Similarly, the import duty on import of dates has been reduced from 10 percent to 15 percent. Importers will get this facility till March 30.
Many traders say that the impact of reducing import duty has not yet reached the wholesale market. Consumers can get this benefit especially in oil and sugar if the government fixes the price.
The traders of Khatunganj said that there is more demand for chickpeas during Ramadan. According to the importers, the annual demand of chickpeas is around 2 lakh to 2.50 lakh tonnes. Among them, the demand is more than 70 thousand tons in Ramadan alone. Quality and good looking Australian chickpeas are always in high demand in Bangladesh. But there is also supply of Indian gram in the market.
General Secretary of Chaktai-Khatunganj Artaddar General Traders Welfare Association Alhaj Md. Mohiuddin told that the price of chickpeas has started to decrease in Khatunganj. Tk 150-Tk 200 per mound has decreased in last one month. Chickpea which used to be sold at Tk 36 per kg is now selling at Tk 34-35. There is plenty of chickpea stock in the market. The price of onion has also decreased by Tk 100-150 per mound. These peas are imported from Russia and Ukraine.
He said that Indian thin lentils are selling at Tk 128 and Australian medium lentils are selling at Tk 100 per kg. It has been selling at this price for two months. Lentils like chickpeas have been heavily imported. There is no shortage in the market. Mokam also has enough lentils.
He said, last year, the dollar price was Tk 105-106. Now the price of that dollar stands at Tk 125-126. Regardless of the booking rate in the international market, the purchase price of each product has increased by around 18-20 percent compared to last year.
Apart from S Alam, sugar and edible oil of City and Meghna Group are traded in Khatunganj. In the last one year, the price of sugar has increased by Tk 1000. At the beginning of February 2023, the DO (delivery order) price of sugar was Tk 3920-Tk 3930. Wholesale buyers have to pay Tk 20-30 more per mound to buy ready sugar.
In Khatunganj on Saturday (February 17) Meghna Group’s fresh brand sugar DO was sold at Tk 4925 per mound. One brand of ready sugar is Tk 4945. Similarly, City Group’s sugar DO is being sold at Tk 4930.
DO businessman Abu Taher of Khatunganj said that palm oil is bought and sold more in the edible oil market in Khatunganj. In Khatunganj on February 17, S Alam Group’s palm oil was sold at Tk 4800, City Group’s palm oil at Tk 4840 and Meghna Group’s palm oil at Tk 4880.
Alamgir Parvez, owner of RM Enterprises in Khatunganj, told that the government has reduced the duty on sugar and oil. It has not yet had an impact on the market. The government has announced that it will fix the price of sugar and edible oil. After fixing the price, there can be a positive impact on the market.
He said that oil and sugar market in Khatunganj is not affected. Mainly the oil and sugar market is controlled by the millers. If the millers keep the supply normal there will be no problem in the market during Ramzan.
Consumers’ organization Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Chittagong Division President SM Najer Hossain told that the Minister of Commerce has already visited Khatunganj and held a meeting with the businessmen. I heard that the day after he became the minister, the price of consumer goods increased. One of the reasons for this is that he speaks in a soft tone while meeting with businessmen. He (the minister) did not give any strict instructions.
This CAB leader also said that it has been officially announced that there is sufficient import and stock of consumer goods for Ramadan this year. If that is the case then the price of goods should not increase during Ramadan. Strict government monitoring is needed to control prices. Consumers will benefit if that happens.

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