The dishonest businessmen are active to hike the prices of essential commodities well ahead of Ramadan, which is expected to begin on May 17.
As a result, the prices of gram, lentil, sugar, beef and edible oil have increased by Tk 5-Tk 30 per kg in the kitchen markets. On the other hand, the prices of onion, egg, ginger, garlic and vegetable are stable.
SM Naser Hossain, Vice President of the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) said “The dishonest businessmen tend to make windfall profits through fraudulent means as demand for some essential commodities rises in Ramadan every year.
Beef price has increased by Tk 20 to Tk 30 in the kitchen markets. Now, beef is selling at Tk 500 while mutton at Tk 780 per kg. Two weeks ago, beef price was Tk 480 and mutton at Tk 750.
Meat trader said meat price is likely increase after 15 days because the transport cost and cow price are increasing every day.
Rabiul Alam, secretary of Bangladesh Meat Traders Association, said it is totally out of their control as the supply of cows from neighbouring India has reduced substantially in the last two years.
Akram Uddin, a butcher of Karwan Bazar Kitchen Market in the capital, said, “The demand for beef during Ramadan will increase significantly. I think the price of beef will increase further due to short supply of cows,.”
He said prices of meat might increase by Tk 540 to Tk550 per kg with the beginning of the Ramadan.
Sugar price is going up as businessmen have created artificial crisis, ignoring the government announcement not to raise the prices daily essentials before the holy Ramadan. Sugar price has increased by Tk 5 to Tk 6 per kg. Now sugar is being sold at Tk 64 per kg. The price was Tk 57 to Tk 50 two week ago.
Golam Mowla, General Secretary of Moulvibazar Wholesale Traders Association, said sugar price has increased by Tk 250 per bag (50kg) at mill gate in last one week.
Besides, prices of gram, lentil and edible oil have increased by Tk 5 to Tk 10 in the kitchen markets. Unpacked soyabean oil is selling at Tk 100, while packet soyabean oil at Tk 113 per kg. Palm oil is selling at Tk 80 per kg.
Vegetable prices in the capital’s kitchen markets remained stable in the previous week.
Aubergine was selling at Tk 30 to Tk 40 a kg, bitter gourds at Tk 40 to Tk 50 a kg, cucumber at Tk 25 to Tk 40 a kg, bottle gourd at Tk 40 to Tk 50 a piece, okra at Tk 40 a kg, papaya at Tk 20 a kg, radish at Tk 40 a kg and bean at Tk 30 a kg.
Green chilli price decreased in the market and the item was selling at Tk 30 to Tk 35 a kg over the week.
The price of the local variety of onions increased by Tk 5 a kilogram over the week and the item was selling at Tk 50 to Tk 60 a kg on Friday, while the imported onions were retailing at Tk 50 to Tk 55 a kg.
The prices of ginger remained unchanged with its local variety selling at Tk 80 to Tk 90 a kg and the imported variety at Tk 105 to Tk110 a kg.
The price of broiler chicken was selling at Tk 150 to Tk 160 a kg, while the locally-bred hens were selling at Tk 320 a kg on Friday.
The price of garlic remained unchanged and the local variety was selling at Tk 80 a kg while garlic imported from China was retailing at Tk 100 a kg on Friday.
Garlic imported from India was selling at Tk 90 to Tk 100 a kg on the day.
Meanwhile, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed recently held a meeting with the importers and traders to assess supply, prices and stock situation of essential commodities ahead of Ramadan. In the meeting, both the Minister and the traders assured that the prices of Ramadan commodities would never increase as the stock of all items is sufficient.