Traders demand an end to highway toll extortion to curb prices

According to the FBCCI chief, police, labour unions, and market forces are involved in widespread extortion

Published : 28 Feb 2024, 06:45 PM
Updated : 28 Feb 2024, 06:45 PM

Controlling the prices of essential commodities will not be possible unless the collection of illegal tolls on highways during the transportation of goods is put to an end, trade leaders say.

They identified it as a key factor driving the price of daily essentials during a meeting organised by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) at its headquarters in Dhaka’s Motijheel on Wednesday to address price control of daily necessities during Ramadan.

Shujon Chowdhury, general secretary of Karwan Bazar Wholesale Kitchen Market Traders’ Association, explained: "Drivers tell us that they're charged a fee during transportation, which raises the product's price.”

He observed that suppliers in the wholesale market charge a marginally higher rate, leading retailers to mark up prices beyond their acquisition cost, contributing to the escalation in consumer prices.

FBCCI Director Syed Md Bakhtiar also addressed the issue of extortion on the road, stating, "Police engage in extortion on the streets, labour unions extort money in many areas, and market extortion is prevalent. Unless this extortion is curbed, the price of goods cannot be reduced."