The capacity of the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP) has to be increased further to protect the consumers from products and services-related irregularities, consumer rights authorities said.
Addressing a discussion in the city's Osmani Memorial Auditorium on Tuesday, they stressed the need for strengthening the directorate to ensure consumer rights as it is the place where consumers can turn to if they are deceived.
Especially the directorate has to be strengthened further at the time of skyrocketing prices of essential commodities, they added at the programme, organised on the occasion of the World Consumer Rights Day.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi admitted that "some" of the traders are manipulating the essential commodity market.
He said a section of traders is cashing in on the ongoing skyrocketing prices of essential commodities in the global market. At this time, the directorate should play a more proactive role to ensure consumer rights.
"Absolutely traders will make profit but extra-profit is not acceptable at all. Awareness among the consumers is an important thing to ensure consumer rights. They have to file complaints against the unscrupulous traders," the minister also said.
Director General of the consumer rights directorate AHM Safiquzzaman stressed the need for increasing manpower in the directorate to carry out its activities properly and a lab where various products can be inspected.
"Currently a total of 217 staff members – including 96 officers – are working at the directorate. The number must be increased," said Safiquzzaman.
Ghulam Rahman, president of the Consumers Association of Bangladesh, said, "Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection is the place where consumers can turn to if they are deceived."
"It is necessary to have offices of this directorate at the upazila level for further expansion of its activities," he added.
"Development is meaningless if commodity prices are raised irregularly and the government has to rein in it."
Dishonest traders should be given exemplary punishment. At the same time, the consumers should not stock up extra products, Ghulam Rahman said.
Commerce Ministry Senior Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh, who presided over the programme, said the directorate receives extensive complaints against unscrupulous traders. If consumers file multiple complaints against a company frequently, the authorities concerned should file a criminal case against that company.
Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) President Md Jashim Uddin said, "We have no connection with any unscrupulous traders. Business leaders will cooperate with the directorate when it will conduct drives against irregularities of traders."
Industries Ministry Secretary Zakia Sultana said, "We want cooperation from the traders at the time of soaring prices of essential commodities."