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Unbridled price hike drives millions of people into poverty

Golam Mostafa Jibon:Continuous price hike of essential commodities has driven millions of people in the country into poverty during the corona pandemic due to lack of proper market monitoring.
As a result, sufferings for poor and low income group of people have been mounted abnormally as they can’t purchase the essential commodities as per their need due to poverty. Many of them have lost jobs during the corona pandemic, while income of many people has reduced drastically.
Sources said, the prices of various essential products are increasing in the country abnormally. There is no way to stop this rise in prices. After rising of rice and oil prices, the prices of almost all kinds of vegetables including sugar, flour, pulses, eggs and chicken have gone up compared to the previous period.
Extreme frustration is prevailing among the buyers. Low-income people are especially worried about rising essential prices. Regarding the rise in prices of import-dependent oil, sugar and pulses, the concerned government department said, the prices of these products have gone up due to rising prices in the international market along with short supply and hike of transportation cost.
AHM Shafiquzzaman, Additional Secretary, Wing Head, Import and Internal Trade (IIT), Ministry of Commerce, said, “95 percent of edible oil, 96 percent of sugar and about 80 percent of pulses are also dependent on imports. As these products are import dependent, it goes up in the domestic market, if the price goes up in the international market.”
“In the countries from which these three products are imported, the corona has been attacked in a horrific manner, which has adversely affected trade and commerce. We import sugar from Brazil and Argentina and edible oil from Indonesia and Malaysia. But, in these countries Corona has made a terrible attack,” he added.
Apart from that, the sourcing country of these products is not much. On the other hand, the cost of transport goods (freight) has increased by about 360 percent. As a result, it is not possible to control the prices of these products in the country.
After the increase in the price of pepper, arrangements have been made to reduce the price by opening the Indian border. Noting that there is no possibility of a reduction in the prices of import-dependent products soon, he said adding that, “I do not see any possibility of a rapid reduction in the prices of import-dependent products. So, there is no good news ahead. This may continue for another two to three months.”
Meanwhile, various international organizations and media reports said, the prices of necessary commodities have gone up all over the world. According to the United Nations, essential prices rose the most in almost a decade in May.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, global food prices have been rising for the past year.
The agency said, the corona epidemic had severely affected the supply chain. That is why, developing countries are most at risk. Concerns have been raised that global inflation and rising food costs could affect the global economic recovery.
The FAO compiles food prices based on prices of grains, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar from around the world. Food prices rose 39.7 percent in May from a year earlier, the highest increase in a month since October 2010. Food prices have never increased so much since September 2011.
However, apart from imported products, the prices of food products produced in the country are also going out of control. Prices of flour, broiler chicken and eggs have been rising for the past few weeks. Ginger and garlic have also been added to the price list.
In the last one to one and a half months, the price of broiler chicken has increased from Tk 40 to Tk 45 per kg.
In other words, one and a half month ago, per Kg of broiler chicken is now being sold at Tk 180 to Tk 175 against the price at Tk 115 to Tk 120.
Besides, the price of Pakistani cock or golden chicken has also gone up at almost the same rate.
Talking to traders in different markets of the capital, it has been learned that the prices of almost everything are going up everyday. The price of eggs has been rising for the last one month. The price of eggs has increased by Tk 25 per dozen in a month.
In the last one month, the price of large lentils has gone up by Tk 10 per kg. Besides, the price of packet flour has gone up by Tk 6 to Tk 8 per kg. The price of vegetables has increased the most. It has been seen that most of the vegetables are being sold up to Tk 50 per kg. Jhinge (one kind of vegetable) is being sold between Tk 70 and Tk 80 per kg, Karla between Tk 70 and Tk 90, Chichinga between Tk 50 and Tk 60, Potol between Tk 50 and Tk 60, Dheros between Tk 60 and Tk 70 and Barbati between Tk 60 and Tk 90 per kg.
Traders said, prices are on the rise as the supply of vegetables is generally low in this month.
Buyers complained that, such upward prices of vegetables like this year are not commonly seen in other years. The traders are taking advantage due to lack of government’s monitoring system.

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