11:00 PM, August 19, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, August 19, 2009

Dealership goes to ruling party men

JS body warns of flaws in appointment

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Staff Correspondent

Many of the dealers assigned by the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) for selling essentials during Ramadan belong to the ruling Awami League.
TCB Chairman Joynal Abedin however declined to comment on the matter.
Meanwhile, the parliamentary standing committee on commerce ministry said it would ask the authorities concerned to correct the dealership list if there is any flaw in the appointment process.
As per its plan, the state-run organisation began distributing goods among the dealers at a Tejgaon warehouse after Commerce Minister Faruk Khan inaugurated TCB's sales operation there.
Khilgaon Thana Jubo Mahila League Joint Secretary Lovely Sultana Mejbah told The Daily Star that the appointment was made through a normal procedure, not under political consideration.
She said many businessmen submitted applications for TCB dealership but the state-run organisation picked up the qualified ones.
Lovely, owner of Lovely Enterprise, said she would start selling essentials at Khilgaon today, just a couple of days ahead of Ramadan.
It remains unclear whether the dealers will be able to make profit as the government has already fixed the retail prices of the goods.
The commerce ministry has fixed the retail prices of edible oil and sugar at Tk 76 a litre and Tk 40 a kg. The dealers have paid Tk 37 a kg for sugar and Tk 73 for per litre edible oil at the TCB warehouse.
Nilufa Rahman, president of Hazaribagh Jubo Mahila League and owner of Nilufa Enterprise, said dealership was not awarded on political consideration as every dealer has got past experience in running businesses.
Nilufa said if they had not such experience, the TCB wouldn't have appointed them.
She said the government should encourage women in running businesses for the country's development.
The TCB will appoint three dealers from each ward under the Dhaka metropolitan area. The state-run organisation finalised appointment of 100 dealers in Dhaka till August 18, said a senior TCB official.
The parliamentary body warned the newly appointed dealers against market manipulation by using political clout.
"If dealers use political clout to control the market it will not be tolerated," committee Chairman Abdul Jalil told reporters after a two and a half hours meeting at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban.
Widespread allegations are there that the ruling Awami League men got preference in obtaining TCB dealership.
Opposition lawmakers alleged that dealerships were given mostly to ruling AL-led alliance leaders and activists instead of real businessmen and their advices and suggestions in this regard were brushed aside.
Jalil said, the House body asked authorities concerned to take stern actions against extortionists irrespective of their political affiliations.
The former AL general secretary admitted that it is a daunting task to scupper the nexus of market syndicates.
He, however, said the committee asked the authorities concerned including the commerce ministry to scuttle any attempt of nefarious nexus that are out to manipulate the market.
Recently, several ministers have alleged that prices of essentials have gone up due to extortion in transport sector.

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