The country is setting a record in rice production. Rice is also being imported from abroad. However, the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a private research organization, has questioned why the prices of these essential commodities are not being kept under control. The company has demanded an accurate assessment of the actual demand for rice in the country. At the same time, the CPD has urged to calculate the amount of rice supplied every year.
These issues were raised at a press conference held at his office in Dhanmondi on Thursday to conduct ‘Bangladesh Economy 2021-22 First Interim Review’. CPD Executive Director Fahmida Khatun presented the keynote address at the press conference. Among others, Special Fellow Mostafizur Rahman, Senior Research Fellow Taufiqul Islam Khan and Research Director Khandaker Golam Moazzem spoke on the occasion.
Talking about the demand and supply of rice, Khandaker Golam Moazzem said, “Economic recovery is not sustainable in the future.” The reason for not being sustainable is that the market for essential commodities is volatile. Especially food products. The macroeconomic indicators are not at ease either. These problems existed even before the Corona epidemic. Now it has increased.
He added that the demand for rice needs to be assessed. The use of rice is increasing in the country. How much is the consumption of rice? He does not have accurate information. He said the demand for rice has increased more than before. Commercial use of rice is also increasing. The use of rice is increasing beyond consumption. These issues need to be brought up. Traders are doing business to take advantage of the shortage.
Some groups control the rice market. But he complained that the activities of the regulatory agencies were not visible in controlling the market.
Fahmida Khatun said that the prices of essential commodities are increasing in the market. But according to the government agency BBS, there is no reflection of the price increase. Probably a factor as to why they’re doing so poorly. But in recent times there has been a huge change in the suffering of the people. So the time has come, consumers have to basket new products to price. This is because there is a big difference between the prices of essential commodities in the market and the BBS data.
According to the CPD, the big entrepreneurs have received money from the government-announced incentive package. Debtors have also received. The money for the incentive package did not reach those who were supposed to receive it. The central bank said the victims would receive incentive money. But what is the definition of victim? Incentive money did not go to the right place due to weakness in policy. The CPD has suggested putting more emphasis on marginalized people in the budget for the next financial year for economic recovery.
Mostafizur Rahman said that almost all the countries of the world have given cash as an incentive. The CPD also offered Rs 8,000 in cash to marginalized people. Although 5 million families were selected by the government, not all of them were given cash. The selection of the beneficiary list was questionable.
Fahmida Khatun said, “We have not got rid of Corona yet.” Countless people are living below the poverty line because of Corona. They have to pay cash. He said the cost per family per month for four members is Tk 6,298. Although the government has given two and a half thousand rupees. Fahmida Khatun thinks that cash should be given for more time.