2018-04-16 08:25:36 BdST

Reduce import duty on essential commodities: DCCI


Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) has called upon the government to reduce import duty on essential commodities and to ensure speedy customs clearance in the ports to keep their prices stable during the month of Ramadan.

The trade body also stressed the need for streamlining traditional supply chain management, checking unabated stocking, strengthening market monitoring, stopping extortion in transportation sector, reducing excessive traffic congestion in the capital and other areas, and rationalising transportation cost during the holy month of fasting.

It also emphasised an active role of Price Monitoring and Forecasting Cell under the Ministry of Commerce to identify and address demand and supply gap in the market.

DCCI also suggested mobile courts to work in a coordinated and result-oriented way.

The calls of the trade body came at a seminar on Sunday titled "Ensuring rational price of essential commodities along with favourable law and order situation during the month of holy Ramadan" at its auditorium.

The organisation urged the government to specify the demand of the essential commodities for Ramadan, so that the importers are able to open their letters of credit (LCs) in line with the real demand and supply.

DCCI said the traders' willingness and the government's strong monitoring can help ensure price stability of the essential commodities during Ramadan.

Home Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Khan was the chief guest of the programme. He urged the traders to do their business in an ethical manner throughout the year, especially during the month of Ramadan.

"Law-enforcement agencies will not spare any unscrupulous traders, if found," he said, adding that the government will show 'zero tolerance' to the extortionists - whether they be police member or civilian.

He said even if a policeman is found guilty or corrupt, the government will stand strong against him and take tough action immediately.

On highway traffic congestion, he requested drivers to abide by all traffic and road safety rules to avoid checking of highway police.

"It is true that police checking on the highways sometimes creates gridlock."

The home minister requested the drivers of heavy vehicles not to ply with overloaded goods, as it destroys the roads.

He hoped that the law and order situation during the month of Ramadan would be under control like the previous years.

Mobile courts will also be in operation this year to stop sales of contaminated food items, he added.

President of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Ghulam Rahman was the special guest of the programme.

He said, "Sometimes despite stable prices in the international market, the prices of essential commodities soar in the local market, only due to uneven price of US dollar here."

"We have to ensure a strong market monitoring system under the government's initiatives," he added.

DCCI president Abul Kasem Khan, in his welcome address, said according to Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), prices of the essential commodities increased 17.51 percent between April and May in 2017. "If the government reduces tariff and duty on the essential consumer products, traders will also be able to reduce their prices during the upcoming Ramadan," he opined.

Professor of Department of Criminology of Dhaka University Dr. Zia Rahman presented the keynote paper.

He said during the month of Ramadan an 'unholy nexus' or hidden syndicate tries to manipulate the open market situation. The unholy nexus creates an artificial gap between demand and supply of essential commodities.

"We have to implement Protection of Consumer Rights Act and Bangladesh Safe Food Act properly," he noted.

DCCI Senior Vice President Kamrul Islam gave the vote of thanks. DCCI Vice President Riyadh Hossain and directors Hossain A Sikder, Imran Ahmed, K M N Manjurul Hoque, Md. Al Amin and Mohammad Bashir Uddin, and secretary general A H M Rezaul Kabir, among others, were also present.

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