Hasina overrules minister, revives state sector trading body

January 20th, 2009 - 5:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Jan 20 (IANS) Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Tuesday ordered the revival of the state sector Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) in a bid to arrest rising prices of essential commodities, overruling a minister who had said it would not be revived.Commerce Minister, Col. (retd) Faruk Khan, had earlier told the business community that the TCB would not be revived, Star Online said.

The earlier decision was criticised as anti-poor and one that could give full liberty to the traders to dominate the commodity prices.

Khan last Sunday told a meeting with the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) delegation: “We will not reactivate the TCB. We will intervene in the market with mutual understanding and trust. The government’s mechanism to control the market is to ensure all kinds of cooperation to businessmen.”

However, this was reversed at the cabinet meeting Monday.

Hasina ordered the respective ministries, including commerce, food, finance and industries, to take necessary steps for running the state-owned TCB to arrest the skyrocketing prices of basic commodities.

The government’s revised stance was announced by Food and Disaster Management Minister Abdur Razzak after UNDP Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Renata Lok Dessallien met him.

The UN and the international community play a key role in food security. The UNDP allocation to Bangladesh was discussed at the meeting, the minister said.

Prices of essential commodities, particularly during festive season, is a sensitive issue in Bangladesh.

“Steps will be taken to import essential commodities, including rice, pulse, edible oil and flour, by the TCB to arrest their skyrocketing prices in the local market,” the minister said.

“The prices did not come down although they have already fallen on the international market,” the minister said. “I think the prices will come down if the essential commodities are imported by the government after reactivating the TCB.”

“I believe that the government should have control over different service sectors including education, health and food,” Razzak said.

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