Speaking to reporters on Monday, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi brushed aside speculations about a possible surge in prices, and said Bangladesh has 500,000 tonnes of onion, which is “enough to meet the demand for up to three months”. “Still we’ve written to the NBR to have the duties suspended.”

“We are trying our best to keep it (market) under control,” he said after a meeting to review the stock, supply, import and price situation of essential commodities.

The commerce ministry wants the NBR to suspend supplementary duty and advance duty on sugar imports, and VAT and advance duty on edible oil for an indefinite period, Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh said. For onion import, the ministry wants a four-month suspension of the 5 percent import duty.

“Last year, the duty was withdrawn for four months. NBR officials seemed positive in the meeting. I hope the duty will be suspended for three months again. ”

Prices of sugar and edible oil have been increasing sharply, leaving the consumers in peril. Onion prices fell this week and more produces are expected by the end of November, the secretary said.

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