Onion prices are getting out of hand
At this point, there are no words left to express our frustration at the way the government has handled—or rather, failed to handle—the consistent price hike of essential items. We can barely keep track of how many times prices of essentials have spiralled out of reach of most people, only to spiral out of control even more over the following months. It is obvious that the sufferings of ordinary people, as well as the suggestions of experts, have had little impact on our policymakers, who would much rather boast about their development records than deal with the day-to-day struggle of people, many of them cutting down on their daily caloric intake because of high food prices.
According to a report by this daily, over the last seven days, the price of local onions spiked to Tk 130-140 from Tk 90-95 per kg. Imported onions were sold at Tk 120-125 a kg, up from Tk 70-80, due to the floor price imposed on onion exports by the Indian market. The price of broiler chicken has also shot up to Tk 200-210 from Tk 180-190 a kg. While the government has made promises to increase the purchase prices of paddy and rice, the real impact on the market remains minimal, with mill owners citing shortages of paddy as a reason for escalating rice prices.
Thus far, the government's half-hearted attempts to cap prices have failed miserably, in the absence of systematic monitoring or any real attempt to address the glaring market manipulations by syndicates. There seems to be a notable lack of urgency to neutralise these syndicates that are monopolising the market. Planning Minister MA Mannan decried at an event last month, "If we could see them, catch them, we could take action against them." Are we to believe that our all-powerful government does not have the capability to hold a few syndicates accountable, if it so desires?
In the face of the ever-escalating price problem, it is high time the authorities demonstrated their commitment to the well-being of citizens and took decisive actions to regulate major market players. Failure to do so will only deepen the ongoing economic hardship of the citizens, and further erode public trust in their ability to steer us out of this crisis.