Sugar, lentil: Traders make higher profit from sales in packets
Businesses are making a higher profit from selling sugar and lentil in packages, breaching the rules of essential commodity distribution and affecting consumers, said a Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission (BTTC) report.
The commission said traders are selling a kilogramme of sugar at as high as Tk 95 and lentil at Tk 190 in package forms, which are higher than the prices of loose or unpackaged sugar and lentil available in the market.
In so doing, businesses are taking higher prices for packaging -- a violation of a 2011 rule, said the BTTC in its report submitted to the commerce ministry last week.
As of August 14, the retail prices of non-branded sugar were Tk 88-Tk 90 a kg, and the non-branded lentil was Tk 100-Tk 135 in Dhaka, said the BTTC citing market prices data compiled by state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.
It showed that businesses charge nearly 6 per cent higher for packaged sugar and 41 per cent higher for packaged lentils.
Businesses are taking higher prices for packaging -- a violation of a 2011 rule, said the BTTC in its report submitted to the commerce ministry last week
"As a result, consumers are suffering," said the BTTC, suggesting the commerce ministry fix the prices of sugar and pulses for the benefit of consumers.
The report comes after consumers witnessed a fresh spiral in the prices of a number of key essential commodities, including sugar in recent days.
Recently, sugar refiners informed the government about their intent to increase the price of the product citing increased import and distribution costs.
The prices of sweetening agent grew 11.25 per cent over the last one month, said the commission.
The spike was 25 per cent year-on-year, it said, adding that the increase was much higher in view of the movement in prices of sugar in the international market.
The prices of sugar dropped in the global market over the last one month.
"Considering the sugar price trend in the global market, the hike is much higher in the domestic market," said the BTTC report, signed by BTTC Deputy Chief Md Mahmodul Hasan.
Bangladesh meets 98 per cent of its annual requirement for sugar of 20 lakh tonnes from imports.
In the case of pulses, the prices declined marginally from a month ago but rose up to 40 per cent on August 14 from a year ago. There was no increase in its prices in the global market compared to a year ago, said the report.
The country imports more than three-fifths of its yearly lentil requirement of 500,000 tonnes.
The commission said consumers are not getting the benefit of the decline in prices of various essential commodities in the global market because of the increased cost of the US dollar stemming from the depreciation of the Bangladeshi taka.
Besides, international prices also influence the price hike of domestically produced commodities, it said.
In a letter to the commerce ministry, the commission recommended the government monitor the market at the upazila and district levels through market monitoring committees.
Dishonest traders are taking advantage of the higher cost of the dollar and international prices as well as the spike in prices for the commodities for which Bangladesh is not dependent on foreign suppliers, it said.
Considering all these factors, the BTTC thinks that upazila and district level committees should take necessary steps as per the essential commodities rule, it said.