Syndicates take advantage of data scarcity to increase prices: SANEM

The executive director of the South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) Selim Raihan on Saturday urged the government agencies to monitor the essentials market throughout the year, coordinating among the concerned departments and resolving data scarcity to control the market, reports UNB.

"There are no data matches among the government agencies including Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) and Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) that's why it's tough to estimate supply of essentials here. The data scarcity creates the problems in the country. And syndicates take advantage of that raising the prices," he said in a webinar titled 'COVID-19 and Bangladesh: Path to economic recovery.'

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Selim said the government's agencies don't take necessary steps to control daily essentials market. "Only conducting drives by the agencies won't control the market. They need proper coordination in surveys and other activities. The agriculture ministry should ensure advanced technology to meet the data scarcity," he added.

The economist also said small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) don't get stimulant packages due to various complexities. "Why the package is not implemented up to 25 per cent? So, a separate window or bank is needed to implement the packages properly," he further added.

Raihan said there are many challenges here in the anticipated second wave for COVID-19 during winter both for Bangladesh and its partners such as uncertainty in RMG export and remittance flow, sluggish demand at local level and in private investment, slow implementation of incentive packages, and also the existing challenges of inequality, (new) poverty, employment generation and institutional weaknesses etc.

"Some small scale policies can be helpful too to resolve problems such as- maintaining smooth operation of food supply chain, linking the small scale and local producers to urban businesses/consumers, restoring backward and forward linkages, engaging the local youths in such activities, encouraging online activities through incentives and focus on education and skill development," he also said.

SANEM research director Sayema Haque Bidisha and its research economist Mahtab Uddin, among others, also spoke there.

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