Soybean oil: Many stores still face supply shortages

After the new prices took effect, edible oil companies began supplying bulk and bottled soybean and palm oil through distributors from Saturday.

However, supplies have yet to reach all areas at retail level – three days after prices for the essential cooking ingredient rose to a record high.

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Traders say it will take a few more days for supplies to return to normal.

Daily Star correspondents visited kitchen markets in several districts yesterday and saw consumers going from store to store in search of soybean oil.

Only a few stores were selling it, and some took advantage of the crisis to charge newly set prices for previous supplies.

The soybean oil crisis started before Eid due to a supply shortage. In this situation, the government on Thursday increased the prices of bottled soybean oil from Tk 38 per liter to Tk 198, bulk soybean oil to Tk 180 per liter and palm oil to Tk 172. Tk per litre. The new prices went into effect on Friday.

Yesterday, 40 shops in Mirpur, Karwan Bazar and Farmgate in the capital were visited, and 24 of them had no oil.

The scenario was the same in many markets in Chattogram, Barishal, Sherpur, Jamalpur, Naogaon, Kushtia and several other districts.

Zakir Hossain, manager of Ramganj general store in Karwan Bazar, said he received 76 liters of oil from Teer Soyabean Oil and Pusti brands yesterday. “I got a fifth of the request, and almost everything is sold out.”

Mohammad Siddique, a Pusti dealer in the same market, said he has received 11,200 liters of oil from the company so far.

“I have provided half of it. The rest will also be distributed. The oil will reach retail level within a week.”

Our correspondent visited Kazir Dewri, Andarkillah, Chawkbazar Aturar and Hamzarbagh cooking markets in Chattogram and found only three shops selling soybean oil.

“The dealers came yesterday and took the orders. They said they would be able to supply oil in two or three days,” said Aminul Haque, owner of the Nihad store in Hamzarbagh’s kitchen market.

Anwar Hossain, a resident of Kazir Dewri, said, “I had no edible oil at home for the past two days. I was then forced to buy sunflower oil.

OLD STOCKS, NEW PRICES

Several stores in Chattogram and Sherpur sold previously collected supplies of bottled oil at the newly set prices. Some sell for a higher price than the new ones set by the government.

According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh, some traders sold oil at 210 Tk.

One and two liter bottles of Fresh brand soybean oil were found in Akbar Shah and Shahidul stores in the Hamzarbagh and Hillview areas of the port city. They sell the one liter bottles at 200 Tk and the two liter bottles at 400 Tk.

Traders and employees declined to comment. They claimed, however, that the bottles were collected before Eid.

In Sherpur district’s Sreebordi Upazila market, Pusti’s one-litre bottled soybean oil, which used to sell for Tk 168, is now selling for Tk 198.

Meanwhile, after the price hike, bottled soybean oil went on the market from Saturday at the new prices, with old price tags removed from branded bottles.

“I know nothing [about old supplies being sold at new prices]. We are just trying to deliver oil to different parts of the country,” said Biswajit Saha, director of trade and regulatory affairs at City Group, a major oil refiner and importer.

Shafiul Ather Taslim, finance and operations manager of TK Group, said the factory opened on Saturday after Eid.

“After that, it takes 24 hours to set up production. The supply of oil at the new prices started yesterday… We cannot cover all parts of the country in one day. It will take two or three days. “

Abdul Hakim, owner of Khwaja store in Chattogram, was fined Tk 40,000 by the National Directorate of Consumer Rights Protection for illegally storing 1,000 liters of oil.

Shahidul Islam, deputy director of the branch’s Chattogram office, said the operation was carried out because traders were selling the old bottles stored at new prices.

According to the National Board of Revenue, more than 13.68 lakh tons of palm oil and soybean oil worth Tk 16,119.36 crore were imported through Chattogram and Mongla ports over the past the last four months until April.

About 54,000 tonnes of palm and soybean oil were waiting to be unloaded at Chattogram port until last night, customs and port officials said.

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