Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi came under fire in parliament on Tuesday from opposition lawmakers for what they said his failure to check the soaring prices of essential commodities.
Participating in discussion on the Trade Organisation Bill-2022, members from Jatiya Party and BNP also blasted the government for its failure to take effective measures to keep the price of daily necessities under control.
They said although the commerce minister is an experienced businessperson, he has failed miserably to control the syndicate that manipulates the price of essentials.
Tipu Munshi, however, told the House that the government does not control business anywhere, rather, assists businesspeople.
Pointing to MPs’ allegations regarding the government’s failure to control syndicate, the minister said those who are involved in syndicates, are not in politics and they are not MPs.
“The government is trying…The prime minister is constantly following up the matter,” he also said.
A disappointed commerce minister said MPs always in their speeches in parliament call him a businessman.
“I am in business for 40 years. But I’ve been in politics for the last 56 years. Is it my fault to become a businessman,” he questioned.
Earlier taking part in the discussion on the bill, Jatiya Party lawmaker Kazi Firoz Rashid said the proposed law was passed in parliament in the interest of syndicate.
“The government is encouraging the syndicate. But it has failed to take effective measures to keep the price of essentials under control.”
Another Jatiya Party lawmaker Pir Fazlur Rahman said why the commerce minister and his ministry couldn’t control the syndicate from manipulating prices of essentials. That is why the syndicate is raising prices of essentials almost all the time.
He said the minister is an experienced businessman but why couldn’t he control the syndicate?
“You have to accept the truth. The syndicate has increased the price of oil and taken away thousands of crores of taka. But the minister couldn’t take any action.”
The lawmaker said no matter how much the minister is trying to reduce the price by reducing VAT, in fact the prices of daily commodities in the market have not come down that much.
He said that it was reported in the newspaper that he (commerce minister) went to the market on Monday and bought 5kg of onion at Tk 28 per kg.
“Now, if the minister had gone to the kitchen and other markets of daily essentials with a prior announcement, people could have gone to that markets and bought things at a lower price like the minister.”
Coming down heavily on the government, Jatiya Party MP Mujibul Haque Chunnu said common people are severely bearing the brunt of the price hike.
He said the syndicate cannot raise prices without the cooperation of the government.
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