Study groups not needed to understand what causes supply crisis

28 January 2021

REPORT in a national daily on Wednesday said stockpile of rice, potatoes and onion remains big issues as the government so far measures failed to fix their supply and keep the prices stable. It said three study groups initiated by the government in October found that rice and potatoes prices increased when supply was even surplus. Traders created the crisis belying the government claim that it was working to discipline the market. Even the commerce minister's claim on Monday that the government is going to strengthen market monitoring makes no impact as people know it sounds empty.   
Rice prices increased during last Boro season because the government procurement price was not enough to buy enough from farmers which left the market in the hand of millers and hoarders. We don't understand why the government procurement price fall far short of open market price which creates the edge for millers and hoarders to buy at higher price and sell to the government later at higher price. Even the government failed to buy one lakh tonnes of rice during last Boro season while around 12.5 lakh tones buffer stock need to be in hand to keep market stable. It seems to be a purported policy to give the business to millers and traders; most of them appear to be ruling party leaders.
Similarly the study found potato supply was 3.41 lakh tonnes surplus last year and trade figure shows Bangladesh also exported potato meeting over domestic demand. This is in fact a government policy issue which failed to make sure that hoarders were not creating artificial crisis. It is also unusual why the government issues special import permits for onion when its supply shortage already hits market. People have reasons to believe that government leaders issue special import permits at last moment and equally share windfall profit.  
We would like to say anyone knows how supply crisis occurs and prices escalate. There is no need for commissioning special study groups at the cost of public money. It seems to be a cover up attempt by a highly corrupt government which runs and control business. We would say the government should not befool the nation and do what it should do to reduce people's suffering.  

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