Bangladesh govt to do all it can to stop spiraling prices, PM calls for all taxes on imported necessities to be lifted

June 14, 2022

DHAKA – The government will do its utmost to maintain price stability of essential commodities through measures such as lifting all customs duties and taxes on their imports and taking tough measures against market manipulation.

Under these measures, private food importers will benefit from all kinds of support so that they can smoothly import food grains and other essential products.

The Ministry of Commerce will facilitate imports by the private sector and monitor market supply and prices to curb any artificial price spirals.

Importers of essential foods should mention their plan for alternative import sources when opening letters of credit with the bank. At the same time, the highest priority will be given to reviving national food production.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave the guidelines during a meeting at the PMO yesterday, senior government sources said.

Several ministers and senior civil and military officials were present at the meeting of the National Committee for Security Affairs (NCSA) which started at 10:00 a.m.

During the meeting, Hasina called for tariffs and taxes on the import of essential goods to be lifted to limit price increases.

The Prime Minister asked relevant ministries to keep the prices of basic necessities within the purchasing capacity of the population and to continue campaigns against trade unions, regardless of their political affiliation.

She also said food inflation is the main concern across the world after the Ukraine-Russia war and the Covid-induced global recession, and asked law enforcement to remain vigilant so no one can take advantage. of spreading rumors against the government and going black. marketing.

Earlier, the government formed a high-level task force to review commodity prices and the market situation. On May 23, he advised the government to remove VAT on the import of refined soybeans, palm, rapeseed, canola and olive oil.

The task force also proposed that the government should import corn from India under the government-to-government agreement and recommended importing edible oil to relieve the poor and vulnerable from the surge. of the cost of living.

The government has also banned the export of rice bran oil and imposed up to 20% regulatory duties on about 135 products as part of the government’s broader goals to discourage their imports and contain market volatility. changes.

Hasina also said yesterday that there should be no interference in the political platforms of opposition parties, sources said at the meeting.

She said political parties will be allowed to carry out their activities, including holding rallies and organizing processions.

But if parties create an anarchic situation in the name of political agendas, action will be taken against them under existing laws, she warned.

On June 12, Hasina, also president of the ruling Awami League, made a similar statement at the party’s central working committee meeting.

The prime minister said his government would do everything possible to bring the BNP to the next legislative elections, scheduled for the end of next year.

Asaduzzaman Mia, chief executive of NCSA, told the Daily Star that during yesterday’s meeting, the prime minister offered several directives regarding rising prices of basic necessities, political activities of opposition parties and the reduction of traffic jams.

“She also asked to closely monitor the market regularly to stop the unions,” Asaduzzaman said.

Asaduzzaman also said the prime minister had asked city corporations and the traffic division to reduce traffic congestion to a tolerable level.

Sources at the meeting said the prime minister also ordered the interior ministry to monitor Rohingya activities so they cannot be involved in arms and drug smuggling. She further requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to speed up the process of repatriating the Rohingyas.

Around one million Rohingya, including 7.5 lakh who fled military repression in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, live in Bangladesh.

The sources said that during the meeting, Hasina gave several instructions to reduce traffic congestion in Dhaka. She said the ground level works of several development projects such as subway, bus rapid transit, elevated highway, have already been completed and asked the authorities to remove obstacles from the road to facilitate traffic, the sources said.

She also blamed irresponsible activities like haphazardly parking vehicles for the traffic congestion and called on municipal corporations and the traffic division to take action in this regard.

The Prime Minister asked law enforcement and intelligence agencies to remain vigilant and increase surveillance to avoid any untoward incidents centering on the inauguration of the Padma Bridge. She also asked them to prevent all kinds of rumors against the government and Padme Bridge.

Edward N. Arrington