Prices of basic commodities will remain stable in Chattogram during the month of Ramadan because of adequate stock and supply, said traders and a senior government official yesterday.
Commerce Secretary Mofizul Islam held a meeting with commodity traders at the district administration office in the port city.
“Wholesale prices at Khatunganj in Chattogram are still low compared to previous years and the prices will remain within the purchasing capacity of consumers in Ramadan,” said Sagir Ahmed, general secretary of the Khatunganj Trade and Industries Association.
“Mobile courts will work to rein in price hike of essential goods during Ramadan. If necessary, you can import more goods to keep the prices stable as there is enough time,” Islam said.
A total of 130,118 tonnes of chickpea were imported through Chattogram port in the July-March period of the current fiscal year against the demand for 80,000 tonnes during Ramadan.
At the importers' level, chickpea was sold at Tk 63 to Tk 69 per kilogramme in Khatunganj, while the wholesalers at the same hub were selling the item at Tk 68 to Tk 75 a kg yesterday.
Between July and March, around 251,318 tonnes of lentil were imported. Its demand during the fasting month will be 50,000 tonnes. A total of 40,000 tonnes of dun pea were imported last month.
At the wholesale level, the Indian lentil was sold between Tk 48 and Tk 50 a kg yesterday, while the local variety of lentil was sold between Tk 90 and Tk 93.
The wholesale price of dun pea hovered between Tk 29 and Tk 31 per kg.
Around 14 lakh tonnes of edible oil was imported in the last seven months against the annual demand for 15 lakh tonnes. Adequate sugar and dates were also imported as per the data provided by the customs.
In Dhaka, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said the government would strictly monitor the markets across the country to control the prices of commodities during Ramadan, according to UNB.
"There is sufficient stock of essentials, so there is no possibility of a crisis. If anyone tries to create any crisis, actions will be taken," said the minister while talking to reporters at the secretariat after a meeting with rice millers and businessmen.
He said that letters would be sent to the deputy commissioners and the superintendents of police with strict directives to stop extortion during the movement of goods on the roads and highways.
Rice mill owners informed the minister that there was huge production and stock of rice in the country and even urged the government to export rice.
"Rice mill owners and businessmen told me that if we do not export rice this time, the prices of rice will drop further and the farmers will be affected," Munshi said.
“We have assured them that we will discuss the matter with the food ministry. If there is enough rice, initiatives will be taken to export them for the sake of the farmers."