Cut import duty on sugar to keep its price stable

Traders urge govt, also seek permission to import the item from India

| Updated: February 15, 2023 08:58:42

Cut import duty on sugar to keep its price stable

Traders demanded on Sunday that the government cut duties on sugar import aiming to keep its prices within the purchasing capacity of the commoners during the upcoming holy month of Ramadan.

They also called upon the government to allow them to import refined sugar from India as its price in the neighbouring country is comparatively very low.

They noted that the prevailing gas supply disruption has been hampering sugar production in the country.

If the ongoing gas supply shortage and complications regarding letter of credit (LCs) are not solved immediately it would not be possible to reduce the prices of sugar, they warned.

They made the demands and observations at a meeting with the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) held at the apex trade body's Motijheel office in the capital.

The meeting which was also attended by retailers, wholesalers, importers have also discussed the demand, supply, and prices of essential commodities during the upcoming holy month of Ramadan.

Senior assistant general manager of Meghna Group of Industries Taslim Shahriar said sugar production is being disrupted due to ongoing gas crisis in the country.

He commented that if the gas problem and LC complications are not resolved immediately then the price could not be reduced.

President of Moulvibazar Traders' Association Bashir Uddin said the traders want permission for importing refined sugar from India, stating that the price of the sweetener there is very low.

He added price of sugar in India is Tk45 a kilogram (kg)

"If the government allows us (traders) to import sugar from India on an emergency basis the price might come down in the local market during Ramadan", he said.

The demand for sugar in the country is 0.3 million (3 lakh) tonnes during the month of Ramadan while it is 0.15 million (1.5 lakh) tonnes at other times.

While presiding over the meeting, FBCCI President Md Jashim Uddin called upon the wholesalers, retailers and millers to keep promise not increasing the prices of essential commodities during the holy month.

He urged the retailers, wholesalers and aratdar to keep money receipts of selling and purchasing of commodities.

He called upon the traders to do businesses considering the woes of the common people.

He urged the businessmen to remove consumers' mistrust in a section of profit monger traders.

Mr Jashim said they have requested the governor of Bangladesh Bank on December 20, 2022 to simplify opening of letter of credit (LCs) for importing essential commodities ahead of Ramadan.

He added 46 members of FBCCI market monitoring team has been working to see the price situation of essential commodities in the market.

Senior vice-president of FBCCI Mostofa Azad Chiwdhury Babu in his welcome address called upon the traders to avoid the tendency of increasing the prices of essential commodities during Ramadan and other religious festivals.

Director General of the Directorate General of Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP) AHM Shafiquzzaman said it is harmful for the country's businesses once the traders are leveled as dishonest.

He called upon the traders to keep money receipts to help prevent the tendency of increasing the prices of essential commodities by a section of profit monger traders.

Chairman of the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) Brigadier General Md Ariful Hasan underscored the role of the traders in checking the price spiral of essential commodities.

President of Wholesale Edible Oil Traders Association Golam Maula said there will be no shortage of edible oil during the month of Ramadan.

President of Moulvibazar Traders Association Md Bashir Uddin said the prices of essential commodities will remain stable if there is uninterrupted supply during the month of fasting.

The traders assured that there will be no supply shortages of lentil, gram and dates during Ramadan.

Vice president of FBCCI Md Amin Helaly, director of City Group Biswajit Saha and Vice president of Bangladesh Sugar Traders Association Abul Hashem were also present.

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