Edible Oil: Stock sufficient, price still high
The country has sufficient stock of edible oil to meet the demand till Ramadan, but the market remains volatile, said the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP).
The consumers' rights body DNCRP made the statement in a meeting with the edible oil refiners and dealers in the capital's Karwan Bazar area yesterday.
DNCRP Director General AHM Shafiquzzaman said the country had around 6 lakh tonnes of edible oil stored which was enough to meet the demand till Ramadan.
Another 183,000 tonnes are on its way to Bangladeshwhile 175,000 tonnes are waiting to be processed at refineries, he added.
Referring to the stock, he said the oil was imported at a cost of $1,400 per tonne and the government fixed the rate in line with the price.
"So, there is no scope of oil price hike till Ramadan," he said.
"The current price of edible oil in the international market is $1,900, but no one opened any LC (letter of credit) to buy it. So, why this crisis?" he asked.
He also said a blame game was ongoing as dealers were blaming the refiners for not supplying oil as per their supply order and refiners were blaming dealers for an exorbitant price.
Meanwhile, Dokan Malik Samiti President Helal Uddin urged the DNCRP to check the flow of supply in the market.
He doubted the DNCRP's information on stock was correct.
"Each day we need around 10,000 tonnes of supply. DNCRP and business body representatives can monitor the refineries at the mill gate."
Another major issue is the disbursement of supply order. Legally, one must collect commodities within 15 days of placing supply order. However, some dealers collect oil even a year later, he further said.
He also requested the authorities to issue an instruction in this regard and urged DNCRP to stop their drives.
DNCRP chief, however, said they would continue their drives and it would go tougher from March 9 to execute the power entitled to them by the law.
Harunur Rashid, an edible oil dealer of Moulovibazar, said at least 750 trucks leave his district with oil each day.
He urged the DNCRP to check out whether such a number of trucks went out from the district in the last week.
In response, DNCRP chief Shafiquzzaman said they would sit with the refiners today to verify the allegations.
"I heard from the FBCCI (Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry) meeting where refiners said they were providing the market with enough supply," he said.
On Monday, FBCCI held a meeting on the current market of edible oil with refiners where big groups that import edible oil said there was no crisis of oil in the market.
Biswajit Saha, director for corporate and regulatory affairs of City Group, in the meeting, said his company was supplying between 2,000 and 2,500 tonnes of cooking oil every day to distributors.
He apprehended that some dealers were hoarding oils in hope of a further price hike ahead of Ramadan.
Dealers and retailers could not inform the meeting at exactly what price they buy the oil from refiners as they do not receive a voucher from the millers.