Soaring prices of daily essentials goes unchecked
Soaring price of daily essentials is making middle and low income people suffer, and especially as they continue to suffer caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Prices of kitchen essentials like rice, potato, edible oil, green chilli and onion have increased by Tk 5 to Tk 110 per kg over the last two months.
Two months ago, the price of a kg of potato was Tk 26 which is now Tk 50. Onion price doubled after India banned export. Green chilli was Tk 105 per kg in August; it now stands at a staggering Tk 220. The price of coarse rice has gone up by Tk 3 to Tk 5 per kg. Moreover, the price of vegetables sharply rose in recent weeks. Price of edible oil also soared. Under these circumstances the middle and low income people are passing tough time. If this situation persists, it will be unimaginably difficult for common people to sustain.
However, the reason for vegetable price hike is understandable, as acres of vegetable farms were submerged in the recent floods, damaging cultivation. Insufficient import of onions causes the price hike of this product. But what could be the reasons behind the unanticipated price hike for rice, edible oil, and potato?
Unfortunately, our kitchen markets have gone in the hands of traders, importers and businessmen. Thus, regulating the price of essentials has become almost impossible. Sadly, government authorities fail to intervene when prices shoot up.
Taking full advantage of the situation, a number of unscrupulous businessmen manipulate the market to make a quick buck. The manmade artificial price hike has been continuing for too long now.
As a result, commoners, especially the low income earners continue to suffer. Adding salt to injury, now, the government's inept and inefficient price regulators to check the price of daily commodities are frustrating them.
Under the ongoing circumstances, the government should act immediately to check the prices of essential commodities at kitchen and wholesale markets. Continuous market monitoring is needed to deter market manipulators from hoarding daily essentials. Also, the government will have to consider reducing taxes and port charges to stop the price hikes of essential imports.
It is good to know that the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) is selling onion, lentil, sugar and soybean oil at reasonable prices. The authority should further expand the Open Market Sales (OMS) centres in big cities, district towns as well as in the upazilas. We hope that government will continue the OMS programme, until the prices of essentials are brought down and stays within the commoners' reach.