The Bangladesh Competition Commission (BCC) has filed multiple cases against eleven individuals and companies, accusing them of ill motive in hiking prices of daily commodities since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war.
According to Competition Commission sources, two of the individuals and companies are rice traders, two corporate companies, one wheat flour-marketing company, three egg-producing and marketing entities, two chicken farms, and one each of soap, detergent, pest producing and marketing companies.
BCC Chairperson Md Mofizul Islam told The Business Standard (TBS), "The commission filed the lawsuits against the individuals and companies on Wednesday to ensure proper market competition.
However, he was reluctant to disclose the names of the companies despite lawsuits filed against them.
Phased hearings are starting from 26 September, on the inconsistencies found in preliminary investigation of the companies, commission sources said.
BCC Chairperson Md Mofizul Islam told TBS, "There are some corporate traders who are bagging rice worth Tk60-65 per kg and selling it at Tk80-85 kg which has contributed to higher rice prices."
Similarly, creating instability, traders sold four eggs for Tk60-65, and broiler chickens for Tk210 per kg. Due to the drive conducted by the commerce ministry, the price of eggs and chickens went down somewhat but prices have increased again. Now four eggs are selling for Tk45-50 and broiler chickens for Tk170-175 per kg.
According to an observation by the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection, the price of soap, paste and detergent have increased more than expected.
However, the manufacturing companies said the price hike was due to an increase in the price of raw materials.
Sources said the cases were filed on Wednesday under Section 15 and Section 16 of the Competition Act. Section 15 states that the commission will be able to take legal action against them in case of adverse effects on the market, like monopoly or oligopoly.
Section 16 states that those who use this opportunity to manipulate the price of a product from a leading position in the market or production of a product, their wrongdoings are also punishable.
Under the Competition Commission Act, if an organisation is found guilty, there is a provision to impose a fine of a minimum of 1% and a maximum of 10% on the amount of transactions or sales of the organisation over the last three years.