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Price hike: Common people are the worst sufferers

Before this Ramadan also, the state minister has already said that there are adequate stocks and there will be no shortage of goods during the holy month. But the buyers are not finding solace in the statement of the minister. If the stock of goods is sufficient, why is the market so volatile now before Ramadan?
Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed
Price hike: Common people are the worst sufferers

From a least developed country, Bangladesh has graduated to a developing country. Despite that, most of the people in this country are still living below the poverty line.

At present, the unbridled rise in prices of essential commodities is the most talked issue in the country. Due to black market, profiteers, hoarders, etc., the prices of rice, pulses, oil, salt, pepper, sugar, milk and other essential commodities are increasing day by day and it is becoming more and more difficult for the poor and middle class people to procure these items. The price of every commodity is rising as fast as a horse beyond the purchasing power of the common man. Capitalism seems to have intensified the market system. The rich are getting richer and the common people are fighting for their lives. Inequality is on the rise. The common man today is suffering immensely due to the rise in commodity prices.

Price hike is currently one of the national problems of the country. The ordinary people are at a stake due to price hike. The prices of most commodities are now beyond the purchasing power of low-income people. The prices of rice, pulses, oil and other daily commodities have been increasing from time to time. In this context, the syndicate of traders is one of the main reasons for the rise in commodity prices. It is often alleged that a class of highly unscrupulous merchants control the market by hoarding the daily necessaries. The government has also blamed the business syndicates for the rise in prices at different times. Extortion of large sums of money on industrial owners, entrepreneurs, producers and traders is another reason for the rise in commodity prices. Traders and producers compensate the extortion by increasing the price of goods. As a result, ordinary consumers are affected. The impact of rising commodity prices in the international market is also felt in the domestic market. When the price of a product goes up in the international market, its price naturally goes up in the domestic market. Commodity prices also rise due to tariff hike. Islam has all such time-honored well-thought policies and far-reaching market plans. If they are implemented, it will be possible to control commodity prices and prevent undesirable inflation. Above all, market worries and instability will be alleviated. There is no alternative to implementing the business principles of Islam to curb the current rise in commodity prices.

The holy month of Ramadan is likely to start on April 14. In the meantime, the market for daily commodities has started to become chaotic. Every year before Ramadan, the ministry of commerce holds meetings to control prices. This time, the state minister has already said that there are adequate stocks; there will be no shortage of goods during Ramadan. But the buyers are not finding any similarity of reality with such statement of the minister. If the stock of goods is sufficient, why is the market so volatile before Ramadan? And this is the reason why the fears of the common people are increasing before Ramadan. As Ramadan approaches, commodity prices continue to rise. Victims say unscrupulous traders increase the amount of manipulation even before Ramadan. They increase stocks illegally, create an artificial crisis. Market analysts say, commodity prices rise every year as Ramadan approaches. Even the prices of some products go beyond the reach of the buyer. The concerned government departments held several meetings to take action against these dishonest traders. Strict warnings are also given and various initiatives taken. But dishonest traders are very powerful; they are always out of reach. Despite the government's call for market control during Ramadan, the market remains uncontrolled every time. Market control measures and promises remain on paper. Market analysts say that despite the government's promise, the prices went up during Ramadan last year. The price of every essential like lentils, onions, sugar, beef and broiler chickens were sold at an additional price of 10 taka per kg. Besides, fruits and vegetables have also been sold at higher prices.

The relationship between the price of goods and life is inextricably linked. How a family manages their daily lives depends on their income, needs and commodity prices. When the price of every essential product is at a tolerable level and within the purchasing power of the common man, they spend their lives in comfort. On the other hand, when the prices of essential commodities become incompatible with the financial well-being of the common man, there is half-starvation, starvation and family unrest in poor and extremely poor families. Therefore, due to the rise in commodity prices, on the one hand, the black shadow of misery prevails on public life. On the other hand, the chaotic situation prevails in the country due to profiteering and smuggling.

In the current era of rising commodity prices, no product is available at a fair price. It is as if, a fire of higher price is burning in every product. But this was not the case even a decade or two ago. People lived as best they could. With the passage of time, economy and living style of people have been changed. Today we are not far behind the world competition market. During the reign of Shaista Khan, the story of three hundred Kg of rice for one taka seems to be a fairy tale. Even during the British rule, the country's commodity prices were under control. After the riots, partition of the country in 1947, the situation in the country changed drastically. The price of the daily commodities was within the reach of the common man. After the birth of independent Bangladesh in 1971, economic catastrophe, famine and epidemic suddenly hit our lives. Gradually most of the necessary commodity prices go beyond the purchasing power of the common man. At the extreme stage of this continuity, people may choose the path of immorality and iniquity. In this case, if the market control and supply system is ensured, it will be possible to prevent the rise in commodity prices.

The rising pressure of price-hike on the common man needs to be stopped as soon as possible. The country's hoardings, artificial crisis of goods and smuggling- must be prevented first of all. The law enforcement agencies of the country have to be more strict and responsible. At the rural level, farmers need to increase various facilities including lending. Communication systems need to be developed so that they can easily ensure products friendly market and sell products at fair prices. The government has to fix the price of each product. In this way the price of goods will be within the purchasing power of the common man. In an independent country, the price of essential commodities is like a thunderbolt for the poor. Different classes of traders are syndicating and increasing the prices of daily necessities. The government must crack down on these greedy unscrupulous businessmen. It is necessary to set up commodity price and monitoring committees in all markets to ensure that the prices of essential commodities are being posted in every market and shop and that the products are being sold at fixed prices. The goodwill of the government and the business community is able to play a significant role in ensuring ease of common people by preventing the price-hikes of essential commodities.

The writer is former Deputy Director General, Bangladesh Ansar & VDP

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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