Consumers’ rights watchdog, Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), on Sunday blamed the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) for it’s failure to reign in price hike of onion which registered an unusual rise in recent days.
“Lack of market monitoring by the MoC and ‘doing favour to local businessmen’ are the main reasons behind the unstable onion market especially ahead of the Eid-ul-Azha,” said a statement issued by Chittagong chapter of CAB.
The TCB also stressed the need for strengthening the market monitoring system alongside making TCB more active to rein in the heated up onion market.
A section of seasonal businessmen create the artificial crisis of essential commodities ahead of national festivals for making a quick buck, it alleged.
“Commerce ministry’s more dependence on businessmen in controlling essential commodity market is frequently the violating interest of general people,” it also alleged.
“The MoC depends on businessmen for meeting onion demands, but it remains a silent viewer even when businessmen cut consumers’ wallets by rising prices with creation of artificial crisis,” alleged the CAB.
Above all, the ministry also did not take any measures to import onion from Nepal, Myanmar and Pakistan when the spice’s price went up in India, which is favouring local businessmen, it alleged.
Also, the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangldesh (TCB) is not playing its due role to control the market at the crisis moment, rather it remains inactive surprisingly.
Besides, unscrupulous businessmen are taking advantage of lax market monitoring due to stalemate in running mobile courts by executive magistrates.
Businessmen are making a hefty profit of 100-150 percent, CAB said, adding that although traders are blaming onion price hike in India, the present stock was imported three or six months earlier.
The country produces 17-18 lakh metric tonnes of onion a year against 20-22 lakh metric tonnes demand. CAB leaders said such a production shortfall can easily met with providing incentives to local farmers and creating awareness among consumers.
Onion price went up to Tk 55 per kg now, which was Tk 25 a month earlier.