Traders are increasing the price of products on various pretexts. If it rains for a day or two, the price is increased on that excuse, and if it doesn’t rain for a few days in a row, it is also blamed. Traders are now blaming the bank for keeping the high price of dollar as an excuse to increase the price of imported goods. Many importers claim that they have to pay their import bills by buying dollars at a higher price than the declared rate after opening LC or letter of credit in the bank. As a result, the prices of daily commodities including oil, sugar, pulses are increasing in the market.
Mill owners and importers proposed to increase the price of sugar by Rs 10 per kg last week. After that, it has been proposed to increase the price of edible oil by 10 taka per liter. Many importers claim that they have to open the loan at the announced rate of Tk 111-112 per dollar and pay at the rate of Tk 125-127. When asked whether the bank gives any proof about keeping the dollar high, an importer who did not want to be named said, ‘The document is there, but it cannot be shown to anyone.’
Banks usually collect dollars according to the exchange rate set by Bangladesh Bank and sell them to importers at the same price or 10 to 20 paise more. But the importers claim that most of the banks are not complying with the prices set by the central bank. They are buying dollars at higher prices and selling them at higher prices.
The managing director of a private bank said on condition of anonymity that any bank can charge two rupees more than the fixed price; But there is no question of taking 123-125 rupees. Foodstuffs are usually imported late on ‘deferred LC’, said an importer. In this case, the time is available up to 90-180 days. It appears that the LC which was opened at Rs 109-110 at the end of August, now has to be paid at Rs 112. As a result, the cost is increasing by 2-3 rupees per dollar. For this there will be no other option but to increase the price.
Bangladesh Bank Spokesperson and Executive Director Md. Majbaul Haque declined to comment. However, he said, ‘LC is being opened and settled according to the importance of the product due to the dollar crisis. There is no shortage of products. However, there is a possibility of getting dollars from several sources. Then LC conditions can be relaxed. And deferred LC is due to various reasons. Bangladesh Bank is working sincerely to reduce them.
In the last two days, the price of edible oil has increased by Tk 3-5 per litre, the price of sugar Tk 10 per kg and the price of pulses has increased by Tk 2-3 per kg. Currently, the price of bottled soybean oil is Tk 169, open oil Tk 149 and palm oil Tk 124 per litre. Apart from this, the price of open sugar is 130 taka and packed taka 135 taka.
Abdur Rahman, the owner of M/s Mohammadia General Store in Banshri B block of the capital, said, ‘The price of sugar has increased by Tk 10 per kg in the last one week. Earlier I sold it at 135 taka per kg but yesterday I sold it at 145 taka. The price of dal has increased by three rupees in a span of three-four days.’ He said that the dealers have reduced the supply of oil. They fear that its price will increase.
According to TCB information, open soybean oil was Tk 145-150, bottled Tk 168, palm oil price Tk 120-125 per liter yesterday Saturday; Coarse lentil was Tk 105-110, medium lentil 120-125 and thin lentil was Tk 130-135 per kg.
The two senior officials of the two edible oil refining companies said that at the rate the price of the dollar has increased, they have no alternative but to increase the price of oil and sugar. That is why it has been proposed to increase the price of soybean oil by 10 rupees per liter and the price of sugar by 10 rupees per kg.
A retired government official said, ‘I earn lakhs of rupees a month. Has own house and car. Even so, it is a bit difficult to run the family. It is easy to guess what will happen to those who are earning less.’
Arifur Rahman, the shopkeeper of East Rampura Bazar, said that the price of sugar is increasing by leaps and bounds. Yesterday, sugar was bought from the wholesale market at around 140 rupees. This sugar cannot be sold below 150 rupees at the retail level. He claimed that the transportation cost of bringing a sack of sugar is 60 taka, and there is some shortfall in selling small quantities. Apart from this there is the weight of the sack. Then their profit.
Haji Omar Ali Chunnu, a dal trader in Rahmatganj area of Old Dhaka, said that lentils have increased by Tk 2-3 per kg. Coarse grain dal was sold yesterday at Tk 102-103, medium at Tk 12-126 and fine grain at Tk 135. However, there are very few buyers in the market.
According to the data of Bangladesh Bank, the opening of LC is continuously decreasing in the current financial year. In July, LCs opened at $4.96 billion. In the previous year it was 7.02 billion dollars. August LC opened at $5.59 billion. It was 6.51 billion dollars in the same month in the previous year. LC opened at $4.76 billion in September and was $6.54 billion a year earlier.
Policy Research Institute (PRI) executive director and economist. Ahsan H. Mansoor said, “Due to the tightening of imports due to the dollar crisis, LC opening has decreased. However, the dollar crisis remains. For this, import goods have fallen as disposal has been hampered, which is fueling the market. Strong political commitment is needed to overcome the crisis.’
Golam Rahman, President of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), said that if the dollar price increases, it will affect the imported products. For this, he demanded to announce the market-based rate of the dollar for a temporary period.