Commentary: Govt has to care about price hikes for suffering of honest people with limited income

Editorial Desk :
Consumers’ woes regarding use of edible oil intensified further, as the government approved the highest ever increase in prices of essential cooking items in Bangladesh’s history on Thursday. The government gave the fresh hike approval in the prices of soybean and palm oils by Bangladesh Vegetable Oil Refiners and Vanaspati Manufacturers Association on the grounds to end unprecedented crunch of the cooking ingredient and price increase in the global market.
As per the latest decision over the price adjustment of edible oils that comes into effect from Friday, the government made the highest surge in maximum retail price of branded bottled soybean oil for a litre to Tk 198, which is up by Tk 38 from Tk 160, while for a litre of loose soybean oil increased by Tk 37 to Tk 180. The rate of per litre palm oil rose to Tk 172, which is up by Tk 39 from Tk 133 per litre. Now, the consumers have to pay Tk 985 for a five-litre jar of bottled soybean oil, which is Tk 760. Earlier, the government on March 20, 2022 set the maximum retail price of bottled soybean oil at Tk 160 from Tk 168 after cutting VAT and taxes on import while each five-litre soybean oil jar at Tk 760.
After VAT and tax waive, economists and market experts had said without the government’s intensive monitoring consumers would not get the benefit from the cutting VAT and tax on import. Traders may try to take the advantage of the global volatile market situation. Expressing concern over the situation, they said it would increase the sufferings of the consumers. It would also open up an opportunity for the hoarders to pocket a vast sum of money. Soybean oil started going out supply in the market two weeks before Eid and the prices of the item went up by Tk 30-40 a litre. Amid the supply shortage and price hike of soybean oil, traders raised the prices of other cooking oils, including sunflower oil, mustard oil and rice bran oil.
We know the big jump in the prices of edible oils and other essential commodities are hurting badly the fixed-income honest people. Thieves of public money have nothing to worry. Even the government officials are flushed with money as never before. Hoarders have also keep government happy by corruption. The general people are helpless before the oligarchs created by favouritism of the government.
The government has to take steps to keep prices of essential commodities within the purchasing capacity of the honest people with limited income. Jobs have to be found for jobless ones as they are also our people.