The Tuesday assurance by the Bangladesh Tariff Commission member Sha Md Abu Raihan Alberuni regarding controlling onion price "within 24 hours" has not been materialised as the price has increased Tk5-Tk10 per kg in city kitchen markets.
Besides, Commerce Secretary Dr Md Zafar Uddin, at a press briefing three days ago, also claimed to have sufficient stock of onions to be able to bring prices under control soon.
Retailers, on Friday, sold the spice item at Tk75 to Tk80 per kg at Segunbagicha, Uttar Badda and Karwan Bazar kitchen markets, up from Tk70 on Tuesday when India declared an increased export price of onions.
Talking to The Business Standard, Sha Md Abu Raihan Alberuni, however, claimed that the onion price is "under control."
The tariff commission member acknowledged that he saw retailers selling the item at Tk7o to Tk75 per kg when he visited markets on the day. This price will continue in the next two months, he said.
"The price was supposed to increase further if the commerce ministry would not take steps as per the tariff commission recommendations," he said.
To reduce dependence on India, the government allowed the businesses to open new letters of credit to import onions from alternative sources, including Myanmar, China and Indonesia, he added.
However as per the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh, one kg imported onions sold at Tk60 to Tk70 and local onions at Tk70 to Tk80 at city markets, which were Tk45 to TK50 and Tk48 to Tk 55 respectively last week.
"We are selling local onions at Tk80 and imported ones at Tk75, because the price in the wholesale is quite high," said Mamun Hoossen, a retailer at Uttar Badda kitchen market.
Wholesaler Azmir Traders at Karwan Bazar sold locally-grown onions at Tk74 per kg. Salesman Nurul Amin said they sold 5-kg onions at Tk280 last week but now at Tk370.
Zaman Traders, another wholesaler at Uttar Badda, sold 5-kg imported onions at Tk380, said its salesman Habibbuaalh.
"We are selling imported onions to retailers at Tk290 to Tk310 per 5-kgs based on quality," said Asad Mollah, owner of Sikder Enterprise, an onion wholesaler at Shyambazar.
On September 13, India set the minimum export price of onions at $850 per tonne to protect their local market price as recent floods hampered onion output in the state of Maharashtra.
Barely a day later, onion prices in the retail markets rose from Tk45 per kg to Tk70.
TCB sells onions at Tk45
The Trading Corporation of Bangladesh, since Monday last, has been selling locally grown onions at Tk45 per kg through five trucks, each loaded with one tonne, under the Open Market Sale (OMS) programme.
"We have started onion's open market sales to mitigate hurdles of poor people as prices of the item hiked in the kitchen markets, the programme will run on working days only," said Humayun Kabir, spokesperson for the state-owned trading agency.
The trucks will cover 10 areas, including the Press Club, the Secretariat, Farmgate, Mohammadpur, Mirpur-14, Kachukhet, Jatrabari, Sayedabad, Motijheel and adjacent areas.