The Bangladesh Competition Commission (BCC) has filed a case against eight individuals and three companies — Unilever, Kazi Farms and City Group — for allegedly raising prices of different daily essentials since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war.
All of them have been summoned to appear before BCC for a hearing on September 26 and 27, according to the judicial body responsible for encouraging competition in the market which disclosed the names of the individuals and companies on Thursday.
Earlier, in May, BCC had sued eight companies after it found evidence against them of manipulating the edible oil market.
BCC said it filed the new case under Sections 15 and 16 of the Competition Commission Act to remove the instability in the market that was triggered by the abnormally hiked prices of five types of daily commodities, including rice, flour, eggs, broiler chicken and toiletries, and artificial crisis.
It added that the commission is also in the process to sue more individuals and companies over the same issue and they will be disclosed later on BCC’s website and Facebook page.
Three individuals who were sued for manipulating rice prices are Rashid Agro Food Products owner Md Abdur Rashid, Belcon Group owner Md Belal Hossain, City Group managing director (MD) and Bangladesh Edible Oil Limited MD. Arotdar Bahumukhi Somobay Samity President Amanat Ullah was sued for manipulating prices in the eggs market.
The City Group MD was also sued for manipulating the prices of flour.
The MDs of Unilever, Kazi Farms and Paragon Poultry Limited were sued for manipulating the prices of toiletries products, and eggs and poultry products, respectively.
The Kazi Farms MD was asked to appear before BCC for the hearing on September 26 while the others on September 27. BCC Chairperson Md Mofizul Islam said these individuals and companies that produce and market soaps, detergent, toothpaste, poultry products, eggs, rice and flour have been sued for their involvement in creating a crisis in the market by abnormally hiking the prices.
Some corporate traders only pack rice worth Tk 60-65 and sell them in the market at Tk 80-Tk 85 which is contributing to the price hike, he explained.
The Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection has been regularly monitoring and holding dialogue with the production and marketing companies after instability occurred in the markets of rice, oil, eggs, chicken and toiletries recently.