The Ministry of Commerce for the first time in the country has fixed the prices of three agricultural produces – potato, onion and egg.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi disclosed this at a press briefing at the ministry’s conference room after a review meeting on the production, demand and price situation of essential products.
The minister said that in order to monitor whether these agricultural products are being sold at the fixed prices, the officials of the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP) alongside the officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Fisheries and Livestock will work in the field in addition to the concerned district and upazila administrations.
“Those responsible for the price manipulation will be punished according to law,” he said.
The minister said in line with the recommendations of the Ministry of Agriculture, the maximum retail price of potato has been fixed at Taka 35-36 per kilogram (kg) while the maximum retail price of local onion at Taka 64-65 per kg. On the other hand, according to the information of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, the price of each egg has been fixed at Taka 12 per unit.
Apart from this, the price of packaged soybean oil and loose soybean oil has been reduced by Taka 5 to Taka 169 and Taka 149 respectively while the price of palm oil has been reduced by Taka 4 to Taka 124.
Tipu Munshi said that the prices of these products have been fixed by taking into consideration the cost and profit at the producer, wholesale and retail levels so that no one is affected.
“Strict action will be taken against those who would illegally stockpile products to gain more profit,” he cautioned.
Tipu said that the government would allow import of egg if the item is not sold in the market as per the set price.
“Initially, imports will be allowed in a limited scale. However, if the prices do not come under control, then there will be large-scale imports,” he said, adding that the ministry has already received several applications for importing eggs.
In response to a question, the minister said that the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection will start its drives from today or from tomorrow in this regard.
Besides, strict instructions will be given to the deputy commissioners of all districts and the divisional and district level officials of the concerned ministries to strictly monitor the selling of such essential items at the fixed prices.
“Mobile courts will be conducted all over the country and punishment will be given according to law if there is any deviation,” he added.
In response to another question about the export of Hilsha to India, Tipu said that Hilsha is not exported to India throughout the year.
A small portion of the country’s overall production of the national fish is exported to India as “complimentary gift” to Indian Bengalees on the occasion of Durga Puja, he added.
He informed that the overall annual export of Hilsha fish to India would total around four to five thousand tons.
Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce Tapan Kanti Ghosh, Secretary of Agriculture Wahida Akhter, and other officials concerned were present, among others.