Local refiners have demanded yet another hike in the mill gate prices of edible oils, sources said.
Following a meeting with the refiners only 10 days back, the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) raised the prices of all types of edible oils in view of the substantial increase in their international prices in recent months.
Consumers are already hard-hit by the soaring prices of many essentials, including rice and edible oils. A fresh hike in the prices of any of the items would only intensify their sufferings.
Now the refiners have proposed raising the rate to Tk 115 per litre of loose oil instead of Tk 107 at the mill gate and increasing the rate by Tk 7 to Tk 123 per litre of bottled oil.
The Bangladesh Vegetable Oil Refiners' and Vanaspati Manufactures' Association (BVORVMA) has placed the proposal to make a fresh hike before the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission (BTTC) , sources said.
The market players also demanded an increase in the price of a five-litre pack of bottled soybean oil by Tk 45 to Tk 635 at the mill gate.
They also proposed a Tk.10 hike of super palm oil to Tk 105 per litre at the mill gate.
The association has requested the government to review the new mill gate prices of soybean and super palm oil and give its effect from March 03, 2021.
Earlier on February 17, the government fixed the maximum retail prices, mill gate and distributor level prices for soybean and palm oil amid the soaring prices of the essential item in the domestic market.
The National Committee on Essential Commodities took the decision at its first meeting held at the commerce ministry.
The price of loose soybean oil was fixed at Tk 115 per litre at the consumers' level, Tk 110 per litre at the distributors' level and Tk 107 per litre at the mill gate.
Bottled soybean oil was priced at Tk 135 per litre at the consumers' level, Tk 127 per litre at the distributors' level and Tk 123 per litre at the mill gate.
And, the price of a five-litre bottled soybean oil was fixed at Tk 630 at the consumers' level, Tk 610 per litre at the distributors' level and Tk 590 per litre at the mill gate level.
The price of palm super oilwas fixed at Tk 104 per litre at consumers' level, Tk 98 per litre at distributors' level and Tk 95 per litre at the mill gate.
"Country's refiners' association has submitted a proposal to the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission (BTTC) to re-fix the mill gate prices of edible oil in line with its global rates. The commission will submit a report in this regard after scrutinising the proposal," said an additional secretary of the commerce ministry on condition of anonymity.
The commerce ministry would take decision according to the BTTC's report in this connection, he added.
The National Committee on Essential Commodities, headed by the commerce secretary, was formed under the 'Essential Commodities Marketing and Distributor Appointment Order 2011' back in 2011.
According to a source, the edible oil prices increased by 29 to 40 per cent in the last three months in the country.
A senior official of the BTTC said: "We have received a proposal from the BVORVMA last week. The members of the National Committee on Essential Commodities will sit at a meeting to examine the proposal."
The Commission would put forward its own recommendations to the commerce ministry after analysing the proposals, he added.
The association has expressed the fear that there will not be a balance between the demand and supply of edible oil in the market if the crude edible oil price continues to rise in the global market.
If the prices of edible oil come down in the international markets, the traders concerned will sit again within 15 day to lower the prices in the local market, commerce minister Tipu Munshi told the reporters at a recent briefing.
According to the commerce ministry, the country has a demand for 2.0 million tonnes of edible oil annually; of which, above 90 per cent is met through imports.
The country imported edible oil worth Tk 122 billion in the last financial year, according to the ministry.