Traders at every level must provide customers receipts against their sales of edible oil from 11 March, the Directorate of National Consumers Right Protection (DNCRP) announced on Tuesday, in a bid to tame the chaos in the country's essential commodity market.
"There is chaos across the country over cooking oil prices. Therefore, from Friday no one will be allowed to sell it without a receipt," warned AHM Safiquzzaman, director-general of the DNCRP.
He came up with the announcement at a meeting between the directorate officials and edible oil traders – both retailers and wholesalers.
AHM Safiquzzaman warned that no irregularities regarding edible oil prices will be tolerated.
According to the law, officials at the quasi-judicial government agency can punish anyone for deceiving consumers.
The cooking oil traders demanded the formation of a joint monitoring team to ensure an adequate supply of oil to the markets from mills.
At the meeting, the DNCRP chief said that the country has a sufficient stock of edible oil and will be able to meet local demand through Ramadan.
"However, some people are trying to raise prices by creating an artificial crisis. Traders have blamed the refiners for this situation," he added.
"Various government offices are working to control the volatility over edible oil prices," Safiquzzaman added.
Meanwhile, traders have assured the authorities of their absolute cooperation in this regard.
According to sources, the DNCRP will sit with the country's mill owners on Wednesday – on 9 March – in a bid to resolve the recent market turmoil.
Businessmen had earlier sought government permission to increase soybean oil prices by Tk12 per litre in the wake of rising prices in the international market, but the commerce ministry did not give the go-ahead.
This was followed by instability in the oil market. Edible oil refiners cut supplies and wholesalers raised oil prices through syndication. Oil disappeared from the market last Thursday and Friday. Retailers who had stocks sold the cooking oil at Tk180-190 against Tk168 per litre fixed by the government.
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) then held meetings with oil traders at all levels.
The leaders of the country's apex trade body called upon traders to solve problems and keep supplies normal.
The FBCCI will urge the government to waive the 15% value-added tax (VAT) on oil imports. It has also decided to work together with all stakeholders to keep the oil market stable during Ramadan.