May 20, 2022
DHAKA – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday directed the finance and commerce ministries and Bangladesh Bank to find ways to deal with the economic pressure caused by the Russia-Ukraine war and Covid pandemic.
After a cabinet meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam told reporters that Bangladesh Bank was asked to find ways to controlthe volatile dollar market.
Speaking on the unscheduled agenda of the meeting, the PM instructed the ministries of commerce and finance to come up with a comprehensive plan within two or three days to address the price hike, the cabinet secretary said when asked whether the rising prices of essentials were discussed.
“They [the ministries] will discuss how to handle the matter, where to put restrictions and where to relax restrictions. They will submit their reports,” he said, adding that the reports would be published before the media.
The ministries were asked to decide within two or three days whether tax should be temporarily increased on fancy and non-essential goods, Anwarul said.
“Proposals were made to increase import taxes on fruits. It is summer. We have enough mangoes, blackberries and jackfruits. Now, it will be decided whether the proposal is logical.
“We request you [reporters] to make constructive discussions. We’re recovering from the Covid shock, but the war in Europe has not only created an economic crisis worldwide, but also a supply shortage.
“The inflation in the UK is nine percent and it is over eight percent in the USA,” he said.
The cabinet approved the draft of Haat and Bazar (establishment and management) Act-2022 in principle.
As per the proposed law, no one will be allowed to set up a market without government permission.
The land of a market will be considered Khas land which will be managed by the district administration and the government. The land cannot be transferred permanently, he said.
If anyone or a group of people illegally occupies Khas land of any market and construct any establishment, then every individual found guilty will be fined up to Tk 5 lakh or jailed for a year or both.
The cabinet also approved the draft Land Development Tax Act-2022 and Land Development Act-2022 in principle.
Besides, the draft National Mental Health Policy Bangladesh-2022 was approved by the cabinet.
An act is being formulated to give mental health as much importance as physical health, the cabinet secretary added.