Tofail Ahmed, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on commerce, yesterday said there was no syndicate in the onion market and that the prices of the bulb could not be brought down by force.
“We will have to bring down the prices of onions through a concerted effort,” the senior AL lawmaker said while briefing the reporters after a meeting of the committee at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban.
Terming businessmen the friends of the government, the senior AL lawmaker thanked different business conglomerates, including Meghna Group, City Group and S Alam Group, for supporting the government by importing onions and sell those without any profit.
The former commerce minister also said journalists can play a pivotal role in reducing the prices of onions by not publishing stories on the skyrocketed prices of the cooking ingredient.
“In many countries, media do not cover the price hike of essentials,” he added.
Asked about the soaring price of various vegetables, Tofail said how the government would control the price as the vegetable-laden trucks are stopped on the road for extortion.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, who was also in the meeting, said he couldn’t predict when the prices of onions will come down within the reach of common people and suggested that people should try to use less amount of the bulb.
He, however, said the price of the daily essential may drop by mid to late December if the onion imports from Egypt, Turkey, Uzbekistan get into full swing.
Both Tofail and Tipu admitted that it was a mistake on the part of the commerce ministry to depend solely on India for onion import during the country’s lean season.
Tofail said the government will take lessons from its mistake.