Retailers in the capital city have increased prices of all but coarse varieties of rice by about Tk 2 to Tk 4 a kilogram in the current week on the excuse of an increase in transport cost after the fuel price increase effected on September 19.
Wholesalers at Babubazar on Dhaka, however, said that the prices could at best be increased by Tk 1 a kilogram as the fuel price increase had pushed up rice prices on the wholesale market by only Tk. 0.25 a kilogram.
Fine grade Nazirshail was on Tuesday retailed in the capital or prices between Tk 56 and Tk 62 a kilogram, up by Tk 4 in a week. Minket, which is also a fine grade variety, was retailed for prices between Tk 44 and Tk 48 a kilogram, up by Tk 2 in the week.
The wholesalers alleged that the retailers always tried to make windfall profits by charging high on any pretext they could use.
Retailers, however, claimed that rice prices increased by Tk 2 a kilogram because of the increased transport cost but the wholesalers said that the increase on the retail market was much higher than the price on the wholesale market.
Bachhu Mia, a retailer at Karwan Bazar, said that they needed to spend Tk 15,000 to carry a truckful of rice from Kushtia to Dhaka; the cost before the fuel price increase was Tk 11,000. The increase in transport cost has pushed up rice prices by Tk 2 to Tk 4, he added.
On the wholesaler market at Babubazar on Tuesday, Nazirsahil sold for prices between Tk 50 and Tk 55 a kilogram and Miniket between Tk 41 and Tk 42.
The Bangladesh Rice Merchants’ Association president Haji Naem Miah, who owns Messrs Jewel Rice Agency, said that the increased transport cost could increase rice prices by Tk 0.25 a kilogram.
He said that retailers were making a profit of Tk 5 on a kilogram of rice whereas the wholesalers were earning a profit of only Tk 0.20.
He said that there should be no reasons for retailers to increase rice prices by Tk 5 a kilogram.
Naem, however, said that the price of Nazirshail was higher than prices of other varieties because of its short supply but the price could not have reached such a level as the demand and sales for the variety had declined from the beginning of September.
He added that the price was not supposed to increase as rice imported from India had started hitting the market this month.