DHAKA, Aug 10, 2017 (BSS) – Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed today directed the Chittagong Port Authority to take necessary measures for quick delivery of basic commodities, especially onion, to meet the domestic demand.
The minister made the directive in a meeting with the traders, importers, retailers and suppliers of basic commodities at his secretariat office.
Following the demand, onion has been imported from Egypt which is now at the port, as price of onion is witnessing slight rise due to floods.
But, basic commodities such as onion, salt, ginger and garlic are sufficient in stock and supply of those are normal, said Tofail, adding, “more onion would be imported from neighboring country upon necessary.”
At the meeting, businessmen said congestion in the Chittagong port has mainly triggered price hike as many onion laden ships are waiting for unloading.
They alleged delay of delivery at the port has disrupted the supply chain of onion in local market as many businessmen imported onion from Egypt.
In an immediate response, the commerce minister talked with the Chairman of the Chittagong Port Authority over mobile phone and directed him to release the basic commodities within 24 hours. The minister even asked the businessmen to contact the port chairman if the goods are not released within 24 hours or highest in two days.
Bangladesh needs 22 lakh tonnes of onion annually but it can produce 18 lakh tonnes and the shortage is met through import.
General Secretary of Moulvi Bazar Babosayee Samity Golam Moula said the retailers have increased the price although they purchase at lower prices from the wholesale market.
An importer at Shyambazar, Zahir Uddin Ahmed alleged his imported goods were not discharged on time due to congestion at Chittagong port. If the port can deliver the onion timely the price will come down immediately in the local markets, he added.
“We are losing our money every day due to congestion in the port,” said Hafizur Rahman, another onion importer at Shyambazar.
Meghna Group chairman Mostofa Kamal said the prices of edible oil and sugar in the local markets remain normal for adequate supply of the items.