Opening of letters of credit (LCs) for importing essential commodities meant for Ramadan increased in January, a development that is expected to increase supply of the items during the fasting month, said Bangladesh Bank yesterday.
LC opening for four out of five essential commodities — sugar, edible oil, peas, onion and dates — rose last month in terms of quantity of products, states data revealed by the central bank at a press conference at its headquarters in the capital.
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The rise in the commodity LC opening will clear confusions over whether the products will be available during upcoming Ramadan starting in March, said Md Mezbaul Haque, the central bank’s spokesperson, at the briefing.
January’s LCs are to import 5.65 lakh tonnes of sugar whereas it was 5.11 lakh tonnes a year ago.
Similarly, in case of edible oil, the amount has gone up to 3.90 lakh tonnes from 3.52 lakh tonnes, onion 42,562 tonnes from 36,225 tonnes and dates 29,481 tonnes from 16,498 tonnes.
However, LC opening for peas decreased to 2.24 lakh tonnes from 2.65 lakh tonnes a year earlier.
The products will come to Bangladesh within a month or two, Haque said.
The central bank has already taken several policy measures in recent times to ensure that the items are available in the market during Ramadan, he said.
“If we can supply the commodities to the market appropriately, there will be no shortage of the commodities during Ramadan,” he said.
The central bank is also monitoring the commodity market with the help of the commerce ministry, he said.
If required, the BB will provide all types of support to banks to clear the import bills of the commodities, he said.
Different quarters have recently said banks were now facing a dollar shortage which was why they were unable to open LCs.
“But the latest trend of LC opening is different. So, the central bank has arranged this press conference to clarify the issue,” he said.