Foreign missions asked to take steps to woo buyers

FE REPORT | Published: May 08, 2020 09:31:03
Bangladesh has asked commercial councillors of its missions abroad to take effective steps so that export orders are not cancelled by the buyers concerned.

The Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said this at a press briefing at the secretariat on Wednesday about the commerce ministry’s steps in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

The commercial councillors under different missions have been working to explore new export opportunities and to take necessary initiatives for the country’s exporters accordingly amid the coronavirus pandemic, the minister insisted.

The minister, however, said the councillors are taking necessary initiatives to discuss with the buyers with a view to preventing the cancellation of export orders.

The government has decided to start selling onion at Tk 25 per kg instead of Tk 35 to keep the prices of the essential products remain stable, Mr Munshi said.

The Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) will sell the essentials from Saturday, the minister mentioned, adding that the state trading arm has been selling various key commodities in 500 spots across the country.

The TCB is a wing of the ministry to deal with different trades and businesses.

The commerce minister also pointed out that price of ginger dropped to Tk 150 per kg at the retail level following the drives by the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP) recently.

There are sufficient stocks and supplies of the kitchen staples that will be able to meet the country’s demand for the next four months, he stated.

The TCB has already taken legal steps against the manipulators for involving in irregularities in selling TCB’s essential items, Tipu Munshi mentioned.

The prices of essential items are now at a tolerable level in the market, he again pointed out.

The different state-run agencies’ officials including the TCB and the DNCRP are putting their efforts relentlessly to distribute the essentials across the country, the minister added.

The stock of the essentials is now ten times higher than the previous year, he also said.

The commerce minister said that currently the prices of cardamom is slightly high in the market, so the ministry is working to this end.

The traders concerned have been importing onion from neighbouring India. The key spice item will remain available here within seven days next, he told the reporters.

Bangladesh and India have fixed four railway routes for transportation of essential goods amid the on-going lockdown that limited road-based transport between the two countries, he argued.

The border rail routes are Jashore, Darsana, Radhikapur and Biral.

Replying to a question, Mr Munshi said, “We are thinking to divide Eid shopping in the capital’s different zones so that people (consumers) can purchase their shopping within the walking distance. A policy in this regard will be unveiled within two or three days.”

The minister, however, insisted that the government gave the decision to open all kinds of shops as per the request of the Bangladesh Dokan Malik Samity.

The reopening will occur by maintaining health safety guidelines and social distancing and the shoppers will ensure safety issues in their markets and shops in different areas, he said.

“Reopening markets are not compulsory. The shop owners can keep open or keep shut. No obligation has been imposed in this connection,” he said while replying to another question.

The commerce minister said the government has urged different organisations not to cut jobs amid the pandemic.

In any case, the government will not accept the practice of cutting employments, he also said.

The apparel factory owners have been asked to pay full wages to their employees, and 65 per cent to those who have failed to join their working units, he added.

Commerce Secretary Md Jafar Uddin, senior officials of the ministry and different state agencies were present, among others, at the briefing.