Record food inflation in October only proves that the isolated initiatives adopted by the government to bring the inflation under control haven’t come to any use.
There’s no scope to deny that the Russia-Ukraine war, energy and food price hike and the massive leap of US dollar exchange rate have contributed to the inflation.
But the fact that inflation, the silent killer of economy, couldn’t be reined in for the absence of required coordinated steps in monetary policy, revenue policy and market management, these three sectors, needs to be recognised first.
According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) records, the food inflation has been above 12 per cent for the last three months, August, September and October.
Now, what’s the answer to the question, when the prices of most of the food items have dropped in the global market, why most of the daily commodities in the local market are going through a price hike?
There was 12.56 per cent food inflation in October, which is the highest in the last 11 years and 9 months. As a result, the overall inflation has also gone up in October.
Now, what’s the answer to the question, when the prices of maximum food items have dropped in the global market, why most of the daily commodities in the local market are going through a price hike?
Prothom Alo reports that the rice price has increased by Tk 2-4 per kg within just a month, with coarse and medium-quality rice seeing the highest price hikes in retail markets.
Basically, low and middle income people is the main consumers of these two kinds of rice. And, they derive a prominent chunk of their nutritional requirement from rice. Therefore, a price hike in rice creates an additional living crisis for majority population in the country.
Aside from rice, the sugar prices are high too. Blaming it onto the supply crisis, prices of loose and packaged sugar have been increased by at least Tk 5 per kg.
Rice, sugar prices spiral up
Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) statistics says that among all the daily supplies, local onion has seen highest 132 per cent price hike in the last one year, (31 October 2022 to 31 October 2023). Meanwhile, potato price has inflated by 20 per cent.
Though the prices of these two commodities have started showing signs of reduction, they are not dropping in the same pace they had increased. Apart from those, rui fish price has increased by 33 per cent whereas, broiler chicken and beef have seen a hike of 11 and 12 per cent respectively.
And the price of coarse pulse has inflated as well. Prices of soybean oil and wholegrain flour have reduced slightly but still they are static at a high price.
While, ministers of the government point fingers towards syndicate as the reason behind unstable prices of locally produced items alongside import-dependent ones, strict actions have not been taken against them.
Rather most of the time, such steps are taken that protect the interest of the syndicate instead of the farmers or the consumers.
Major leap in the dollar exchange rate and the ongoing political turmoil in the country can worsen the inflation even farther. In that case, the government must take a unified action by coordinating between the monetary and revenue policies.
It’s crystal clear to all that unscrupulous traders get the chance to make extra profit from cutting consumers’ pockets, only for the lack of proper information on production, not deciding upon import at the right time and the absence of proper market monitoring.
Inflation has a direct hit on peoples’ lifestyle and the low income group becomes its prime victim. Steps taken by the government in inflation control haven’t come to any use in reality.
Major leap in the dollar exchange rate and the ongoing political turmoil in the country can worsen the inflation even farther.
In that case, the government must take a unified action by coordinating between the monetary and revenue policies. Plus, the currency exchange rate and the interest rate have to be market-based.
Instead of putting it in words, they have to show it in action by setting examples that they really are taking action against the syndicate. No quick fixes, people want to see realistic steps in tightening the noose on daily commodity price.