Ministry claims onion price fall to result in smuggling to IndiaStaff Correspondent
The commerce ministry officials at a meeting with parliamentary standing committee on Monday claimed that the reduction of onion price in the country would result in smuggling of the product to India.
The standing committee on the ministry, however, did not raise any question about the controversial comment of the ministry officials.
Bangladesh meets 25 per cent of its annual onion demand by importing from India.
Earlier, at a meeting of the standing committee held on September 4, the same ministry officials told the watchdog that inaccurate data on domestic onion consumption had caused price hike of onion.
The parliamentary committee had accepted their explanation, observing that the prices of onion would come down in the next two or three weeks.
Instead, the onion price increased from Tk 65 per kg to Tk 80.
The 50th meeting of the standing committee held at the Parliament Building on Monday discussed the price hike of onion ahead of the Eid-ul-Azha.
Awami League MP Joynal Abedin and the BNP representative Rumana Mahmud attended the meeting.
The additional secretary, in absence of commerce minister GM Quader and secretary Mahbub Ahmed, told the meeting, ‘The onion will smuggle into India as the prices there is higher than Bangladesh market.’
ABM Abul Kashem, the committee chairman, and other attending members did not ask any question about his statement.
‘Making such statement proves that they have no confidence on themselves,’ Kashem told newsmen after the meeting.
The agriculture ministry fixed the annual domestic demand of onion at 23 lakh metric tonnes while the domestic production in the current fiscal at 19 lakh and 14,000 tonnes.
Besides, the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh, and the private sector have imported more than 5 lakh tonnes of onion.
So, there should not be any crisis of onion in Bangladesh.
The market observers and traders say an illegal syndicate of businessmen has been active to artificially hike the prices to swindle huge money from the people’s pocket.
Bangladesh imports onion from India, Pakistan, China, Myanmar and Turkey.
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