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Economy

Farmers suffer as dealers charging higher fertilizer prices

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Abdul Jalil, a farmer in Jamalpur, started looking for Muriate of Potash (MoP) fertiliser last week, but he found none in the nearby shops. When he managed to find it, the seller charged him Tk1,500 for a 50kg sack, which is actually priced at Tk750.

Farmers across the country said they have already been confronting a crisis of urea fertiliser, and the scarcity of MoP has worsened the situation.

Farmers in various districts, including Rangpur, Bogura, Dinajpur, Rajshahi, Jamalpur, Barishal, and Barguna, said the government recently fixed the price of a 50kg bag of urea at Tk1,100, but the sellers are charging them Tk1,300-1,400.

Sources at the agriculture ministry said there is no shortage of fertilisers in the country, but unscrupulous dealers have created an artificial scarcity to manipulate prices.

The dealers currently get Tk100 commission from a 50kg sack, and they have been demanding that it be increased to Tk200, citing the recent increase in the cost of living caused by the fuel price hike.

Mobile courts fined 383 dealers across the country Tk57 lakh on 30 August for irregularities in their operation. The highest number of dealers were fined in Jashore. The process of cancelling the licences of two dealers in Bogura and Rangpur is also going on.

Currently, there are over 5,500 fertiliser dealers across the country.

According to the agriculture ministry, the fertiliser shortage is most severe in Jamalpur, where Jamuna Fertiliser Company Ltd is located. The factory has not been in operation for over three months due to a shortage of gas. There are 257 dealers in the district, who buy fertilisers from Jamuna Fertiliser.

The dealers in Barguna and Barishal were also told to collect fertiliser from Chattogram, but they did not do it, causing a crisis.

Earlier, three factories were closed down due to a lack of gas, but now all the factories, except Jamuna, are operational, according to Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) officials.

Kazi Mohammad Saiful Islam, joint secretary and director (commercial) of BCIC, told, “There is no shortage of urea. Fertiliser is also being imported. We are providing fertiliser on demand everywhere.”

According to the sources at the agriculture ministry, BCIC and Bangladesh Fertiliser Association, there are many dealers who are not collecting fertiliser even after depositing money. Wherever the authorities concerned are aware of a crisis, they are resolving it through the intervention of the deputy commissioners. But the crisis has spread across the country in such a way that it cannot be alleviated easily.

Balai Krishna Hazra, additional secretary of the Agriculture Ministry’s Fertiliser Management and Materials Wing, told , “We have no shortage of fertilisers. Dealers who are causing trouble are being brought under the law. The licences of some of the dealers are also being cancelled.”

A senior official of the Ministry of Agriculture said on condition of anonymity that a vested quarter is trying to create instability by creating a fertiliser crisis ahead of the election.

Last Wednesday, the secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture held a meeting with deputy commissioners across the country to remedy the fertiliser crisis.

At the meeting, Agriculture Secretary Md Sayedul Islam gave instructions to field-level officials to prevent fertiliser price manipulation, artificial scarcity, and the sale of fertiliser without receipts.

He also instructed the officials to display a price list, ensure the supply of fertilisers to retailers, and visit the dealers’ warehouses to confirm the arrival of fertilisers.

The agriculture secretary further asked the officials concerned to operate mobile courts to prevent irregularities. Besides, instructions were given to the BCIC chairman to allow the delivery of fertilisers from the BCIC immediately after the agriculture ministry allocates it.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, currently, there are 6.41 lakh tonnes of urea in stock against a demand of 3.5 lakh tonnes for the months of September and October.

There are also 4.15 lakh tonnes of TSP fertiliser against a demand of 96,000 tonnes, 9.04 lakh tonnes of DAP fertiliser against a demand of 2.19 lakh tonnes, and 2.46 lakh tonnes of MoP fertiliser against a demand of 1.21 lakh tonnes.

President of Bangladesh Fertiliser Association (BFA) Kamrul Ashraf Khan Poton told, “It is true that there have been some problems all over the country. We are also trying to normalise the situation with the government. Alongside the government, we are also monitoring the situation across the country.”

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Economy

Major American Corporations Eye Investments in Bangladesh: State Minister

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State Minister Ahsanul Islam

State Minister for Commerce Ahasanul Islam Titu announced on Tuesday (May 28) that major American conglomerates, including Amazon, Chevron, Coca-Cola, and Boeing, are showing keen interest in investing in Bangladesh.

“We are working to streamline the investment process for American companies, ensuring they can operate smoothly without any obstacles,” State Minister Titu told reporters following a meeting with a delegation from the US-Bangladesh Business Council at the Ministry of Commerce.

The minister highlighted that the discussion focused on simplifying investment procedures and removing any barriers that might deter new American companies from entering the Bangladeshi market.

A representative from Amazon attended the meeting, where discussions centered on the potential for Amazon to integrate Bangladeshi products into its global supply chain and enhance the local e-commerce infrastructure. “Amazon is looking into establishing a central warehouse in Bangladesh to facilitate regional and international product distribution,” Titu added.

The US delegation also explored opportunities in energy, digital payments, and startup sectors.

Titu outlined the primary goals of the United States-Bangladesh Business Council: improving market access for Bangladeshi products, facilitating US investments in Bangladesh, and strengthening bilateral relations. These efforts align with the government’s Smart Bangladesh strategy aimed at strategic growth.

Addressing concerns about some American companies withdrawing their investments from Bangladesh’s capital market, Titu emphasized the importance of welcoming international conglomerates. “If Facebook, Amazon, Chevron, Coca-Cola, and Boeing become involved in Bangladesh’s business landscape, it will significantly ease the country’s progress,” he stated.

Titu also mentioned Bangladesh’s scheduled graduation from the Least Developed Countries (LDC) category in 2026 and stressed the importance of securing market access in various countries within the next two years.

He assured that the government is committed to attracting international investors through policy support, emphasizing Bangladesh’s potential as a significant market with a stable government expected for the next five years.

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Economy

Bond Market Reforms Key to Investment Growth: Salman F Rahman

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salman f rahman

Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman today underscored the need to bolster the country’s capital market to secure funding for investors.

“Globally, the capital market is the primary source for raising finance for investors. However, in our country, businessmen typically rely on bank loans for mid-term investments or expansion. We are working towards improving the bond market,” he stated.

Salman made these remarks following a meeting with an executive business delegation from the US-Bangladesh Business Council at the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Bhaban in the city, sources said.

The meeting was attended by Board Chair of the US-Bangladesh Business Council and President and CEO of Excelerate Energy, Steven Kobos, along with President of the US-Bangladesh Business Council and South Asian Vice President of the US Chamber of Commerce, Ambassador (ret) Atul Keshap, among others.

Speaking to reporters, Salman mentioned the government’s efforts to safeguard the capital market from manipulation. “Share prices depend on the market. The government never interferes in this regard. The primary role of the government is monitoring,” he added.

He also highlighted the importance of institutional investors in strengthening the country’s capital market.

Moreover, Salman noted that US entrepreneurs have shown increased interest in investing in Bangladesh, recognizing the current government’s various development initiatives.

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PM Sheikh Hasina Seeks U.S. Business Support for ‘Smart Bangladesh’ Vision

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Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called on U.S. businessmen to support Bangladesh’s goal of becoming a developed and smart nation by 2041. Addressing a delegation from the US-Bangladesh Business Council at her official residence in Ganabhaban, she emphasized the importance of their partnership in this transformative journey.

“We aim to become a ‘Smart Nation’ by 2041. Your support in enhancing our global competitiveness and expanding our export base is crucial,” she said.

The Prime Minister highlighted Bangladesh’s imminent graduation from a “least developed” to a “developing” country in 2026, attributing this progress to sustained efforts over the last 15 years. “Our efforts have led to Bangladesh being recognized globally as a ‘Role Model of Socio-Economic Development’,” she stated, citing good governance, the rule of law, rural investment, women’s empowerment, and ICT advancements as key factors.

Sheikh Hasina noted the longstanding economic and developmental partnership with the U.S., which is Bangladesh’s largest export destination and source of foreign direct investment. She expressed optimism about further strengthening this relationship.

“To protect our economy from current pressures, investment—both domestic and foreign—is vital. The implementation of Bida’s One Stop Service (OSS) will facilitate this,” she said, addressing the OSS implementation progress review meeting at the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority’s (Bida) headquarters.

She urged the U.S. business community to invest in Bangladesh’s high-potential sectors, including renewable energy, shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals, and ICT. “We are establishing 100 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and 28 hi-tech parks, making Bangladesh a prime destination for IT investments,” she added.

Highlighting Bangladesh’s competitive advantages, she mentioned the availability of a young, skilled workforce at competitive wages and the country’s liberal investment policy. She reassured investors of the government’s commitment to improving the investment environment.

In response to the Prime Minister’s address, Bida Executive Member Mohsina Yasmin presented a report on OSS progress, while NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem assured the business community of considering logical amendments to the Customs Act.

Sheikh Hasina underscored Bangladesh’s significant socio-economic achievements, including reduced poverty rates, increased life expectancy, and higher literacy rates, particularly among women. She noted that Bangladesh is currently one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, projected to be the 25th largest by 2030.

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