The new price of sugar is in effect a blunder of the traders

3 min read

The Bangladesh Sugar Refiners Association is reluctant to accept the recommendations of the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission (BTTC) and the instructions of the Ministry of Commerce regarding how much sugar will be sold per kg in the retail market.

This information is known from the source of the meeting titled ‘Keeping the sugar market stable and stock situation’ held under the chairmanship of Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh at the Secretariat today.

The meeting was attended by representatives of Bangladesh Bank, National Board of Revenue (NBR), Ministry of Industry, BTTC, Special Branch of Bangladesh Police, Criminal Investigation Department, Directorate of National Security Intelligence.

Regarding this meeting, Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh told Prothom Alo, ‘We have requested the businessmen to accept the recommendations. They said that sugar is waiting for release at Chittagong port and due to this they are facing loss. If proof of loss can be shown, it will be taken into account the next time the price is adjusted.’

After the recommendation of BTC every time, the association gives notification, but this time it is not given even after three days.

BTTC informed the Ministry of Commerce last Monday that open sugar can be sold at a price of Tk 120 per kg in the retail market. And packaged sugar can be sold at Tk 125 per kg.

Even though the Ministry of Commerce sent a letter to the Association on the same day to implement this recommendation of BTC, they are not implementing it. That is why the Ministry of Commerce is meeting again today.

According to the recommendation, the commerce ministry’s letter mentions fixing the retail price of open sugar at Tk 120, distributor price at Tk 117 and millgate price at Tk 115. And the price of packaged sugar is said to be retail price Tk 125, distributor price Tk 121 and millgate price Tk 119.

But the market picture is different. The information of the government organization Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) says that sugar is being sold in the market at the rate of Tk 135 to 140 per kg.

As per the recommendation of BTC, when the association issued a notification to sell sugar at the rate of Tk 104 in open and Tk 109 in packets per kg, it was not implemented in practice. Since the notification, it has been observed that consumers are buying sugar at a price of Tk 30 more per kg.

Now when the BTTC has recommended that the price of sugar be Rs 16 per kg higher than the previous official rate, the members of the association reportedly did not want to accept it. If this recommendation is to be accepted, the price of sugar will have to be reduced by Tk 15 per kg from the current market price.

Arrow is the sugar brand of Citigroup, one of the country’s leading consumer goods groups. Biswajit Saha, director of the group, was contacted by Prothom Alo this afternoon on mobile. But he said he would talk later. After two hours, he did not pick up the phone.

However, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said that whether or not sugar is being sold in the market at the price set by BTC will be monitored from next week. The Minister of Commerce said this in response to questions from journalists after a courtesy meeting with Helena Koenig, Deputy Secretary General for Economic and Global Affairs of the European Union at the Secretariat today.

The commerce minister said that due to the increase in the price of sugar in the international market, the new price has been set at Tk 120 per kg and packaged sugar at Tk 125 per kg. Traders including Sugar Refiners Association have been informed to sell to consumers at this rate. To see whether they are selling in the market at this price or not, instructions will be given to the concerned authorities including the National Directorate of Consumer Rights Protection, District Administration.

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