Bangladesh Tariff Commission or BTC yesterday suggested traders sell sugar at Tk 55-56 a kg at the retail level amid a steady supply and stock of the item in the local market.
Refiners sell sugar at Tk 48-50 a kg and wholesalers at Tk 52, which means its retail prices should not exceed Tk 55-56, said Mushfeka Ikfat, chairman of BTC. The BTC made the call in an effort to control the spiraling prices of sugar that now retails at Tk 60-65 a kg.
“Retailers are taking advantage of the rising demand for sugar during Ramadan,” she said.
Ikfat spoke after a meeting with the sugar traders at her office in Dhaka as per the direction from the commerce ministry to find a rational selling price for the widely used item.
At the meeting, the importers urged the government to revise the duty structure of sugar to help lower its prices in the local market, Ikfat said.
“We will hold another meeting with the sugar traders soon and prepare a suggestion for the ministry,” she said.
The daily supply statement provided by the refiners and millers showed that the supply of sugar is still steady, she said.
Currently, the minimum import price for raw sugar is set at $350 per tonne and importers will have to pay Tk 2,000 as specific duty and 20 percent regulatory duty and 15 percent value-added tax.
The selling prices of sugar go higher when the production cost is added with the higher import duty, said Biswajit Saha, general manager of City Group, a leading sugar importer and refiner. “Sugar prices will go down if the government lifts all but the specific duty.”
“The wholesalers are not getting adequate supply in time. A smooth supply of sugar should be ensured to bring down its prices to a rational level,” said Abul Hashem, vice president of Bangladesh Sugar Merchant Association, who was also present at the meeting.
It takes 10 to 12 days to get delivery of sugar from mill gates, and by this time an artificial crisis is created in the local market, Hashem said.
He said the refiners even do not know how much sugar they are supplying to the wholesalers every day.