Food inflation cannot be kept under control by increasing the prices of daily commodities. Rice, dal, oil, broiler chicken, sugar, salt, flour-all products are being sold at higher prices in the market. Besides, the prices of fish and meat, potatoes, onions and eggs are unbridled. Data from Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) also showed the same picture.
Ordinary people are struggling to run their families under the pressure of inflation. Many are breaking the savings fund to meet the daily necessities. Food price inflation was 12.56 percent in the month of October, which is the highest in the last 11 years and 9 months. Recently, the commerce minister himself admitted that there is no chance of reducing the price of food products.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Bank Governor Abdur Rauf Talukder said that our economy is currently going through a challenging period. In my 36 years of civil and public service, I have never witnessed such an economic crisis. He thinks the situation has reached rock bottom. There is no chance of getting worse.
He expressed hope that the economy will return to stability and normal course after the national elections. He said these things in a discussion meeting with the leaders of the Economic Reporters Forum (ERF), an organization of economic reporters, on the overall economic situation of the country on Monday.
On the other hand, most of the people are expressing their anger at the abnormal market price. Many people are satirizing the rise of everyday products on social media.
Inflation is like a tax that burdens everyone, rich and poor alike. Food inflation has increased, especially for the poor and the middle class. Now the price of all kinds of daily necessities in the market has skyrocketed.
There is no shortage of products in the market. Supply is also normal. However, there is a planned increase in price targeting one or more products for a specific period of time. On September 14, the government fixed the price of potatoes at Tk 35-36 per kg. But this price was not effective in the market. 60-70 per kg is being sold. 70 rupees were also seen to be sold in some places. On the other hand, in March this year, a kg of onion was Tk 30. Unscrupulous traders sell for 100-110 taka. On September 14, to prevent manipulation, the Ministry of Commerce decided to reduce the price of domestic onion to Tk 64-65 per kg. In the retail market, desi onion is being sold at a maximum of Tk 140 per kg. In addition, in January this year, the price of egg per copy was 10 taka. In May, it increased to 11 taka. In the month of September, the price of each egg is also sold at 16 rupees. As a result, the government fixed the price of eggs at 12 rupees on September 14 to control the price. Still it is sold at 13-14 rupees per copy in the retail market. Import decisions are taken to control prices. Those imported eggs have also arrived in the country. But the consumer is spending 13 rupees to buy a copy of egg in the retail market. Meanwhile, sugar was sold at Tk 140 per kg in June. Although the government had fixed the price of sugar per kg at 130 rupees. But that price is not acceptable.
Saiful Islam works as a manager in a garment factory. The total monthly salary is like 40 thousand rupees. Family of four including two sons and daughters, wife. He said, the day the salary is paid, the money is gone. All the money ends up in paying various outstanding dues and house rent. Eating fish and meat can be said to be almost stopped. After paying the child’s school fees, there is not much left. Borrowing is required to cover all other expenses. A situation like Saiful’s can be found in almost all people from limited income and lower middle class, middle class families.
High inflation has been prevailing in the country for a long time. However, the situation has worsened in recent times, it is seen in the government statistics. According to BBS, food price inflation is almost the same irrespective of urban-rural areas. Food inflation in villages is 12.53 percent. In the city, this rate increased slightly to 12.58 percent. Inflation data for the month of October showed that overall inflation stood at 9.93 percent. This rate was 9.63 percent in the previous month. Inflation has been over 9 percent since March this year.
According to the data of TCB, in November last year, a kg of desi onion was Tk 60. In November this year, a kg of this onion stood at Tk 135 to Tk 140. At the same time, a kg of garlic was Tk 90. In November this year, a kg of this garlic stood at Tk 220. A kg of ginger was Tk 240. In November this year, this ginger stood at Tk 300 per kg. In November last year, a kg of sugar was Tk 115. In November this year, this sugar stood at Tk 140 per kg. Apart from this, in November last year, a kg of potato was Tk 30. In November this year, this potato rose above Tk 50 per kg.
Salim Raihan, executive director of Sanem, said that proper measures have not been taken to supervise the internal market management to prevent the increase in the price of food products. The recent increase in prices of onions and chillies is an example. Bangladesh has not succeeded in controlling inflation in the last one year. But Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Vietnam, Indonesia and other countries of the world have managed to reduce inflation.
Due to the increase in price inflation, people are not able to settle their accounts in the market. Common and working people are forced to cut down on spending. The sufferings of the laborers have reached an extreme. The market situation says that a kg of coarse rice is Tk 55-56, lentils Tk 135. Broiler chickens were sold at Tk 185 per kg. Pangash was sold for Tk 190 to Tk 220. In this situation, the question is – what will the poor and low-income people eat?
Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) President Golam Rahman said that the prices of all types of products have increased in the market. Traders are increasing the price of goods by understanding the time and opportunity for unreasonable profit. As a result, even if the income does not increase, the expenses of all classes of people are increasing. The government fixes the price of the product but does not implement it. Even the unscrupulous are cutting the pockets of the customers by increasing the price of the product. He said that several agencies of the government are engaged in market supervision. But such a situation has arisen due to their lack of any system of integrated supervision.
Bangladesh Bank Governor Abdur Rauf Talukder admitted that the syndicate is behind the increase in the price of goods. That is why the prices of some products are increasing irrationally. Even if the supply of goods is normal, their prices are also increasing. That is why there is no denying that people are suffering. Central banks are selling dollars from reserves to keep the dollar market stable. Through this, the upward movement of the dollar is being controlled to some extent.
Abdul Jabbar Mondal, assistant director of the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection, said that daily operations are being conducted in the market by the Directorate to keep the consumers at ease. It is being seen whether the products are being sold at the price set by the government. Irregularities are immediately brought under punishment.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has ordered to find those who are cutting the people’s pockets by increasing the prices of products. Although he gave this order last Friday, there is no initiative to catch the dishonest. Rather laxity has been seen in market supervision.