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HOME  PAPER FOR PEOPLE 16

Prices of the essential commodities

continue to remain unstable, causing

enormous suffering to fixed income

group of people. How to get rid

of the situation?

AT PRESENT, the situation of price hiking in the country is a matter of great concern. Due to a series of hartals and obstruction, the political and economical conditions have deteriorated. Everything seems to have gone beyond our control. Essential commodities are not supplied sufficiently and many are not able to reach different parts of the country. As a consequence, the price of the essential commodities continues to rise day by day.
On the other hand, due to the instability of prices of goods, fixed income group people have suffered tremendously. Their income is meagre to support themselves and their families. Many have to live on hand to mouth income and this group represents the majority of our population. Teachers, service holders, day labourers, garment workers, fishermen, rickshaw-pullers, drivers, etc have very limited income. They hardly get any raises for a long period of time. Thus when the prices of the essential commodities rise, the sufferings of common people knows no bound.
The political situation has to change; otherwise it is not possible to get rid of this problem. When farmers cannot supply essential commodities, price increases. Last few months were full of hartal and strikes. The political situation has been absolutely terrible. Vehicles could not move from one district to another. All kind of essential food commodities such as rice, potatoes, pulses, wheat, vegetables, fish, chicken were unable to reach the destinations on due time. The supply is insufficient and their prices are high; people with limited income group struggle to buy these essentials.
In my opinion, the two political parties of the country should work together and have a dialogue. The government should take steps to curb illegal price hiking.
Some dishonest businessmen are making money by taking advantage of people’s helplessness in this situation. They collect the essential commodities from farmers at a cheaper rate but selling at much higher prices to create a crisis. They should be severely punished according to law. Sometimes the retailers increase the prices of commodities illegally. They should be monitored by a special mobile court which will take stringent actions.
To steer our country towards peace and prosperity, we have to work together forgetting egoism. Hence I would like to request the government to find a solution to respond to the woes of common mass.
Anjan Saha
Bangladesh University of Textiles

***
PRICES of the essential commodities in Bangladesh seem to be increasing every day. At least 45 million people in Bangladesh, almost one third of the population, live below the poverty line and a significant proportion of them live in extreme poverty. It’s difficult for the poor and limited income people to earn their livelihood in the ongoing political crisis. Although the real per capita income has increased, prices of essential commodities have shot up simultaneously. Day by day, the situation is getting out of hands for people with limited income. As a result, many people have inadequate food and suffer from periods of food shortage.
Among all problems, price hike of essential commodities is a critical one. The problem has spread its evil clutch all over the country. Prices of all essentials are increasing day by day. When the prices exceed the buying capacity of consumers, there is a crisis.
Bangladesh has limited productivity. So it cannot manufacture enough food for its increasing population. Man-made crisis of commodities is another big cause. Dishonest businessmen create artificial crisis to gain higher profits. Lack of adequate supply, smuggling and corruption are also responsible for increased prices.
The effects of price hike are many. Bangladesh is now well positioned to achieve most of its Millennium Development Goals, but it remains a low-income country with substantial poverty, inequality and deprivation. The condition of commoners is miserable. Many of them remain famished almost every day. Due to increased prices, the poor are becoming poorer. It is really horrible. We have to take some immediate steps to bring down the prices of valuable commodities. Food production must also be increased to feed our large population.
Corrupt and dishonest businessmen must be punished. First of all we need political stability if we want to control our domestic price hike. Farmers should be given easy loans to cultivate crops and cattle. The government should also sell essentials for the poor at a low price. Although the government already launched an open market, the supply there is insufficient. The government needs to set up monitoring teams in every market to reduce corruption.
Conscious people should work together with the government in this regard to regulate the price of essentials.
Avit Kumar Saha
Via e-mail

***
INCREASING prices of commodities is creating an imbalance in the lives of common people, particularly those with fixed and limited income. The price hike seems to have a ripple effect and creating a lot of stress among all. The miseries of the people must be stopped by taking essential measures. In order to get rid of this terrible situation, the government must play the major role in monitoring the retail and wholesale buyers. The general public must resist high prices by gathering together to raise their voices.
The media has a vital role to play in depicting the real scenario to the people and investigating the root cause of the problem. Although there are a few programmes in television channels discussing the impacts of rising prices as well as news focusing on the same issue, however, it must be a continuous process for the media. We all must be made aware of such syndicates who try to sabotage the market situation. If necessary measures are taken, only then we can live a balanced life.
Farah Naz Haque
Dhanmondi, Dhaka

***
BANGLADESH is a developing country which is making gradual progress to shape its economy, education and other aspects. But it has to face many obstacles such as price hike, illiteracy, corruption etc. Political issues have become a part of our daily life nowadays. People can’t do their jobs properly. For that our economy, education, in fact every sector is being vastly harmed.
Owing to the ongoing political crisis, the supply of daily essential commodities is irregular and insufficient, causing a price hike. But in previous years, prices of essential commodities have been unstable due to a number of other reasons. One of the most significant reason has been manipulation of the market by dishonest businessmen. Price hike causes enormous suffering for the general people. Maximum people of Bangladesh live hand to mouth; majority of the population has limited income and only a small segment is very wealthy.
It is always the poor people and those with limited income who are mostly affected by the unstable price of essential commodities. Most people of Bangladesh are suffering for this. We have to get rid of this problem immediately or our progress will surely be stopped.
First of all, people need to be made aware about the root causes of the problem. Public awareness can be created by the local media including newspapers and television networks. Besides, our political leaders can also help to solve the problem if they take the responsibility. If we can avoid hartals and strikes, I am sure we can solve the problem to a large extent.
Bangladesh is a democratic country and hence its people have the highest power. During elections, we should use our power to vote only the deserving candidates who will serve the country and its people genuinely. We, the people of Bangladesh want a peaceful country, where we will work together to bring progress.
Nazmul Hasan Naim
Bangladesh University of Textiles

***
THE vast majority of Bangladeshi consumers are very badly affected by continual rise in price of the daily necessities. It becomes difficult on the part of people to maintain their daily expenditures which seem to be increasing day by day but their income does not increase at the same rate.
There are a good number of reasons behind price hike in the country such as the striking of natural disasters like storm, cyclone, flood, drought, etc. Bangladesh has a huge and ever-growing population; our demands are always greater than our supply which aggravates the problem. Some businessmen, greedy for earning higher profits hoard goods and create artificial scarcity in the market so that the price increases quickly. In this country, the middlemen between the producers and consumers of the products take the lion’s share of profit. The black marketers and smugglers also contribute to the increase in price of essentials in our country. Political parties collect money from businessmen and this aggravates the problem further.
Price hike has far-reaching effects on poor people and those with fixed income. Most of the people in Bangladesh are poor and their incomes are very limited. As a result they struggle to avail the daily products and services. This segment of population finds it extremely difficult to fulfill their essential demands due to the price hike. It has impacts on their and their family’s health as well as children’s education. Unable to buy nutritious or quality food, they suffer from various kinds of diseases. They live in unhygienic environment in slums and shanties because they cannot afford decent housing since most of their income is spent on buying essential goods. It may have a psychological impact on them and they may be compelled to use unfair means to earn money to support themselves and their family. Some of them start practicing illegal activities in their society to fulfil their daily expenditures. They have to go without availing many things such as education and medical treatment that are necessary to lead a decent life.
Certain measures may be taken in order to address the problem of price hike of essentials. Agriculture has been neglected for too long, particularly in developing countries, including Bangladesh. It is high time that we pay attention and invest more in the agricultural sector. Higher agricultural subsidies should be provided by the government to the farmers. The Food and Agriculture Organisation should intensify its information collection and dissemination efforts. The efforts should be focused on information about both the real market and related financial transactions. Adequate emergency food stocks or strategic reserves must be maintained. These could be held at the regional or national levels. There have even been calls for establishing global emergency reserves.
The government should not protect illegal traders and give more facilities to the farmers to increase their food production. The government’s utmost priority should be the welfare of people.
The solution of this price hike problem lies in our government and people becoming more aware as well as traders conduct their business honestly.
Sohag Khandaker
Dolphin School, Dhaka

***
PRICE hike of essentials is a known problem in this country. In order to resolve the crisis, you either need to control the market or increase the minimum wage/salary for everybody. There should also be lower inflation rates. Lowering price of the essentials goods is easily possible by the government of Bangladesh.
In order to eliminate this problem, first we have to understand why prices of the essential commodities rise so high. What causes it in the first place? Higher demands and low supplies, or just low supplies in general? The government can provide subsidies to small businesses and farmers so they can grow more food and increase the supply.
Free trade should also be enabled with neighbouring countries. There should be a pricing system that is fair to all which will eventually give birth to a win-win situation. Only the government can promote and control such systems. In the case of food, the government needs to have backup plans in order to have stability in the food market when the country is struck by natural disasters, particularly during monsoon and flooding. Hence food should be stored keeping dire circumstances in mind so that people do not have pay unnecessarily exorbitant prices to purchase essentials.
Sabrina Islam
Independent University, Bangladesh

 
 

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