Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said cooking oil prices cannot be reduced in Bangladesh unless Brazil, Argentina, Malaysia, and Indonesia cut their prices.
"Cooking oil is Tk15 higher in India and Tk36 in Pakistan, compared to Bangladesh. We produce only 10% oil locally and have to import wheat and lentils too," the minister said on Tuesday, at the inauguration of the 29th Chattogram International Trade Fair at the Polo Grounds in the city.
About 310 local and foreign companies will take part with 370 stalls in the fair.
Tipu Munshi also claimed they, the government, have sold oil, sugar, and chickpeas, at fair prices to one crore poor people, whereby five crore people will effectively benefit. The subsidy will continue until the situation returns to normal, he announced.
Terming Chattogram the lifeline and gateway of the country's economy, he said greater importance should be given to the port city and the port should be further upgraded. This may result in $60 billion of exports this year, he hoped.
Criticising some businesses, lawmaker MA Latif said the image of the government has been tarnished by some unscrupulous businessmen, which is unacceptable and requires strict action against them.
Chattogram Chamber President Mahbubul Alam said there is no alternative to a bay-terminal to achieve a target of $100 billion in exports. The work should be completed by 2025 by fast-tracking the project. Upgrading the Dhaka-Chattogram highway to eight lanes is also a momentous need of the day, he added.