Merchants make higher profits on bundle sales
Companies are making higher profits by selling sugar and lentils in packages, breaking essential product distribution rules and hurting consumers, according to a report by the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission (BTTC).
The commission said traders were selling a kilogram of sugar at Tk 95 and lentils at Tk 190 in the form of packages, which are higher than the prices of bulk or unpackaged sugar and lentils available in the market.
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By doing so, companies are accepting higher prices for packaging, a violation of a 2011 rule, the BTTC said in its report submitted to the Commerce Department last week.
As of August 14, retail prices for unbranded sugar were Tk88 to Tk90 per kg, and unbranded lentil was Tk100 to Tk135 in Dhaka, BTTC said citing market price data compiled by the state-owned Trading Company. Bangladeshi company.
It showed that companies charge almost 6% more for packaged sugar and 41% more for packaged lentils.
Firms are accepting higher prices for packaging – a breach of a 2011 rule, the BTTC said in its report submitted to the Department of Commerce last week
“As a result, consumers are suffering,” the BTTC said, suggesting that the Commerce Ministry sets sugar and pulse prices to benefit consumers.
The report comes after consumers witnessed a further price spiral for a number of key commodities, including sugar in recent days.
Recently, sugar refiners notified the government of their intention to raise the price of the product citing rising import and distribution costs.
Sweetener prices have risen 11.25% in the past month, the commission said.
The peak was 25% year-on-year, he said, adding that the increase was much higher given the evolution of sugar prices in the international market.
Sugar prices have fallen on the world market over the past month.
“Considering the trend of sugar prices in the global market, the rise is much higher in the domestic market,” said the BTTC report, signed by BTTC Deputy Chief Md Mahmodul Hasan.
Bangladesh meets 98% of its annual sugar requirement of 20 lakh tonnes from imports.
In the case of pulses, prices were down slightly from a month ago, but were up as much as 40% on August 14 from a year ago. There was no increase in its prices in the global market compared to a year ago, according to the report.
The country imports more than three-fifths of its 500,000 tons annual lentil requirement.
The commission said that consumers were not benefiting from lower prices of various commodities in the global market due to the rising cost of the US dollar resulting from the depreciation of the Bangladeshi taka.
In addition, international prices also influence the rise in prices of locally produced commodities, he said.
In a letter to the Ministry of Commerce, the commission recommended that the government monitor the market at upazila and district levels through market surveillance committees.
Rogue traders are taking advantage of the rising cost of the dollar and international prices as well as the soaring prices of commodities for which Bangladesh does not depend on foreign suppliers, he said.
Considering all these factors, the BTTC believes that the upazila and district level committees should take the necessary measures in accordance with the essential commodities rule, he said.