Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi has said one of the reasons for the recent increase in commodity prices is traders are taking advantage of the situation.
"Traders look for opportunities," the commerce minister said in response to questions from reporters at a press conference at the secretariat on Wednesday (17 August).
Giving an example of the price of rice to explain what he meant, the minister said, "Due to the increase in the price of fuel oil, the price of rice should increase by 50 paisa per kg. But it has increased by Tk4 per kg. They made use of the opportunity."
He said that the ministry is monitoring the market and hopes that the price will be under control by next October.
Besides, regarding the unusual increase in the price of eggs, he said, "If the price can be reduced by importing eggs, we can do that too if necessary."
However, he did not give any details even when the journalists wanted to know what decision was being taken about the opportunity-seeking traders or the way to reduce the price.
He said that no decision has been taken yet on fixing the price of edible oil and a decision will be taken later.
"Global oil prices are falling, and dollar prices are increasing. The price will be fixed up by coordinating these two," Tipu Munshi said.
The press conference was organised to explain the ministry's stand on the irregularities in the report of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) regarding the distribution of subsidised family cards distributed by the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB).
Although the TIB report mentions irregularities in 39% of cases of issuing family cards, the minister claimed that there could be at most 5% irregularities.
"There is no denying this fact. But we managed to reach 95% of people," he added.
Tipu Munshi pointed out several weaknesses in the TIB report.
He said that although one crore people were given food at subsidised prices, TIB's sample size was only 1047 people.
Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh, who was present at the press conference, said that the representation of TIB is not correct.
He said that TCB has given 200 taka oil at 110 taka in the market, so the subsidy is almost 100%. Whereas, TIB says it is 28%.