New hotline – 16121 – to be launched today to receive consumer complaints over products and services
The Ministry of Commerce has formed an 8-member special committee to monitor and contain the price hike of daily necessities across the country ahead of Ramadan and Eid.
Commerce Secretary Dr Md Jafar Uddin made the announcement at a press conference in the capital on Saturday.
The special committee headed by Commerce Secretary Jafar Uddin will hold its first meeting today at the ministry.
The commerce secretary said the committee will hold a meeting every Sunday to monitor prices with real-time market information.
Traders across the country increase the price of daily necessities ahead of the holy month of fasting and during Eid every year. The government, too, makes an effort to keep the prices under control, but this fails due to lack of effective monitoring.
But the latest initiative will be successful, Commerce Secretary Jafar Uddin said.
The Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection organised the press conference ahead of World Consumer Rights Day, to be celebrated today.
"We believe we will be able to provide effective results from the monitoring committee by containing price levels," said the commerce secretary.
"We do not want to intervene in the market, but we will do it if necessary to keep prices under control," he also said.
The new committee will work around the year, Jafar Uddin said, adding that it will also include representatives from consumers.
He gave an assurance that the price of daily necessities will not increase before this Ramadan.
The committee will collect data at the import, wholesale and retail stages from different markets, including Khatunganj [wholesale market in Chattogram], he added.
Meanwhile, Babul Kumar Saha, director general of the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection, told reporters that the agency will launch a new hotline to encourage consumers to complain about products and services.
The number to dial – 16121 – will be open 24/7, and consumers will be able to register complaints from anywhere in the country.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi will introduce the hotline today to mark Consumers Rights Day.
Last year, the High Court ordered the directorate to launch a hotline, and also asked the commerce ministry to allocate funds for it without any bureaucratic tangle.
On the occasion of World Consumers Rights Day, the government agency has chalked out different programmes to raise public awareness. The programmes include, among others, holding a discussion at the ministry as well as at different places across the country.