Bangladesh. Most food graintraders ignore govt directive

Although the government set October 30 as the deadline for taking licences from the food directorate, an estimated 40,000 food graintraders are still doing business sans approval, sources said.
Some 20,000 rice and wheattraders across the country obtained trade licences last month from the authority concerned in response to an official instruction to this effect, officials said.
On October 02, the government asked wholesalers, rice and wheat importers, rice millers and flour millers having daily transaction equivalent to the value of a tonne of food grains to take licences from the food directorate under essential commodity control act-1956.
"We have issued more than 20,000 new licences to the food graintraders in a month which is very positive," Kazi Nurul Islam, supply, distribution and marketing director at Directorate General of Food, told the FE Monday.
A good number of applications are in the process, he said, adding that they distributed leaflets and held meetings to motivate the traders in taking licences and doing business in compliance with the laws of the land.
Following the government's instructions, the DGF also asked its officials up to upazila level across the country to bring them under regulations.
Against the backdrop of a shortfall in stock and the price hike of the main staple, the food minister asked food graintraders including importers and wholesalers to take licences from the DGF. When the minister came up with the direction, there were only 39,569 licensed traders and millers across the country, officials said.
Even though the DGF doesn't have any specific statistics on how many food graintraders are operating across the country, they anticipated that some 0.1 million retailers, wholesalers, rice millers and flour millers are running their business.
"We have recently asked our officials up to upazila level to conduct mobile court drives against the traders who will not comply with the government order for taking licences," Mr Islam said, adding that they also directed their upzila level officials to carry out a survey in this regard to know the number of food graintraders. According to essential commodity control act-1956, it is mandatory for all licensed traders to submit fortnightly reports to the DGF on their food grain stock situation.

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