The government cannot be held solely responsible for the surging inflation leading to the spike in essential commodities' prices, State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam said today (19 September).
"The Bangladesh Bank has taken measures to address the situation by increasing policy rates. Initiatives have also been taken to curb excessive demand. In this situation, the government cannot be blamed for the additional cost burden placed on consumers," he asserted.
Speaking at a seminar organised by the World Bank as the chief guest, he emphasised that external factors have also contributed to this economic challenge.
"Due to the rise in prices in the global market, the domestic market has experienced an increase as well," he explained.
Despite the current challenges, the state minister expressed optimism that inflation rates, especially those related to food products and overall inflation, would stabilise within the next three months.
Shedding light on the seasonal nature of the issue, Shamsul Alam further explained, "From July to October, vegetable production tends to be lower, and major crops are not yet harvested. Consequently, food prices tend to be higher during this period."
Regarding the rise in egg prices, he attributed it to a supply shortage while dismissing the possibility of a syndicate manipulating prices.
He noted, "The egg sector comprises numerous individual and institutional producers, buyers, and sellers, making it unlikely for a syndicate to operate in such a diverse and competitive environment."
In addition to State Minister Shamsul Alam, the South Korean Ambassador in Dhaka Park Young Sik, delegates from the World Bank, economists, and leaders from the private sector also addressed the seminar titled "Avoiding the Middle-Income Trap in Bangladesh: Lessons from Korea."
During the seminar, speakers emphasised that Bangladesh has the potential to evade the middle-income trap by addressing key challenges, such as enhancing efficiency and productivity, investing in infrastructure development, crafting and executing sound policies, and ensuring good governance.