Address LC concerns before Ramadan
Businesses in Bangladesh are still facing many difficulties in opening letters of credit (LCs) to import daily essentials, creating the scope for potential price hikes ahead of Ramadan, according to businesspeople.
So, the government should immediately form a separate fund for importers of essential goods so that they do not face any trouble in opening LCs and thereby help keep the domestic market stable.
"We are already talking about the difficulties in opening LCs with the government," said Mahbubul Alam, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI).
"It is important for relevant ministries to coordinate their efforts to ensure price stability," he added.
Alam made these comments while addressing a discussion on "Stocks, imports, supply and price situation of daily essential commodities during the upcoming holy month of Ramadan".
The event was organised by the FBCCI at its office in Dhaka yesterday.
Alam also said the recent overnight price hike of onion by Tk 100 to Tk 150 per kilogramme was the result of an artificial crisis.
"We are not with those who are unethical. We do not want to hear anyone call businesspeople dishonest," he added.
Syed Md Bashir Uddin, president of the Moulvibazar Baboshayee Samity, an association of traders, said there will be no crisis in the upcoming Ramadan if importers of essential items keep supply in order.
"Care should be taken so that importers cannot reduce supply in name of crisis," he added.
Sirajul Islam, president of the Bangladesh Fresh Fruit Importers Association, said the duty on dates was recently increased by several fold.
"It also happened that a few days after I met the concerned officer of Chattogram Customs, the customs duty was increased further," he added.
Golam Mawla, president of the Bangladesh Wholesale Edible Oil Traders Association, alleged that steps are being taken to completely remove loose oil from the market on the pretext of food safety.
He urged for increasing supervision of edible oil refining companies to solve this problem.
Md Helal Uddin, president of the Bangladesh Shop Owners Association, said government data on local production of essential goods does not reflect the actual market situation.
"Ministries at times overstate local production to convince the government that the country is self-sufficient in terms of certain products," he said.
"In doing so, misinformation is often given and so, this problem has to be solved," Uddin added.