Fixed govt prices of daily essentials mostly violated
It is disturbing to follow that majority of our traders have reportedly been violating kitchen commodity prices while selling kitchen items at a higher price. In particular, egg, soybean oil, potato and onion are not being sold at prices set by government authorities.
According to government fixed prices, egg is to be sold at Tk 12 per piece, onion between Tk 60 - Tk 65 per kilo, potato at Tk 35 and soybean oil at Tk 169 per litre, but these kitchen essentials continues to be sold at previous higher prices.
For instance, government's fixed price for potato is being sold for more than 10 - 15 Tk per kilo. Last Sunday, on most kitchen markets it was reported to be sold between Tk 45 and Tk 50 - highest since October 2020, according to a data by the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB).
However, this wider and prevailing tendency to violate government specified prices of commodities is not a new phenomenon. And it is largely happening because of poor monitoring, little or zero law enforcement and marked failure in controlling the traders' syndicate.
In response to price violation, wholesalers and retailers have said that 'it is not possible to bring down selling price of potato without increasing the supply.'
This factual or lame justification merits two questions at the same time - what was the point in terms of fixing the selling price by government authorities, since the supply of potato was low? And, why hadn't traders and wholesalers objected to government's fixed price of potato from the very beginning?
What we observe is discernible irregularities and organised chaos to have plagued the country's supply chain of kitchen commodities. On one hand , government authorities concern are failing to control and bring down commodity prices , while on the other , trader and wholesaler syndicates have taken full advantage of government's failure while squeezing out whatever possible from consumers.
While price control does not go with the concept of a free market economy, it is also imperative for the government to establish a formal supply chain for all kitchen commodities. In addition, we consider it mandatory to bring local importers, wholesalers including retailers under a regular consultative process prior fixing prices of kitchen essentials.
In conclusion, there is no point in fixing a price of whatever kitchen commodity unless violation is accordingly addressed through legal course of action and strict monitoring. It is the same with hanging somewhat symbolic price charts at kitchen markets, since retailers don't follow them.
More than enough have been penned, discussed and recommended on controlling prices of kitchen commodities, and effective actions yet remain a far cry.