The bidders Saturday quoted higher prices than the existing international rates for importing sugar in a tender invited by the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB).
The TCB invited the tender with a view to stabilise the country's volatile sugar market over last several months. As many as four bidders participated in the bidding process.
The lowest bidder quoted the price at Tk 66,000 per tonne despite the fact that the international price for sugar stood at nearly Tk 33,000 per tonne, according to TCB sources.
The sources also said that the bidders have included all taxes and freight charges in their proposals. The government now charges 73 per cent import levies on sugar, which was lowered from 105 per cent.
However, a board meeting of the TCB was progressing at its office in Dhaka until the writing of the report at 8:00pm on the day. Sources at the TCB said that they would submit the meeting decision to the commerce ministry soon. Then the government will decide whether it will entertain the bids or not.
Earlier, the government decided to subsidise sugar import against the backdrop of price hike of sugar in the local markets. It also decided to procure sugar through the TCB.
It decided to sell the imported sugar through open market sale (OMS) at six divisional headquarters and other important towns of the country to intervene in the local markets to help bring down sugar price.
Presently, sugar is being sold at the kitchen markets between at Tk 53 and Tk 55 per kg while the state-owned TCB sells the same at Tk 42 in the divisional headquarters, mainly Dhaka.
The TCB procured sugar amounting to 10,000 tonnes from Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation (BSFIC) to sell it through OMS. The government has planned to continue the OMS through importing sugar.
Consumers said that the price of sugar is inching up gradually due to the lax monitoring of the authoties concerned. They hinted that OMS at different cities and other urban areas would help contain the price spiral of the essential commodity.