Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi on Thursday said prices of essential commodities, including edible oil, remain at an affordable level thanks to various government steps.
He was responding to questions from lawmakers at a question and answer session in parliament on Thursday.
On the trade deficit, the minister said the country had a deficit of $21,528 million in FY22. "Bangladesh exported goods to 203 countries in that year, and had trade deficits with 91 of them, while the trade with the remaining 112 countries was in favour of Bangladesh."
In the same session, Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumdar said his ministry has taken initiatives to import wheat from Russia and rice from India, Myanmar and Vietnam on a government-to-government (G2G) basis.
As of Tuesday last, the country had 19.5 lakh tonnes of food grains, including 17.33 lakh tonnes of rice and 1.41 lakh tonnes of wheat and 1.17 tonnes of paddy, he told the Parliament.
"According to the National Food and Nutrition Security Policy, the country needs to maintain a stock of 10.5 lakh tonnes of foodgrains, but we have much more than that," he said, adding that there is no risk of food crisis in the country.
The minister also noted that the country imported some 15.44 lakh tonnes of rice, 19.95 lakh tonnes of edible oil, 6.99 lakh tonnes of onion, 0.54 lakh tonnes of garlic, 67.02 lakh tonnes of wheat, 27.77 lakh tonnes of oilseeds, 27.08 lakh tonnes of sugar, 3.63 lakh tonnes of spices, 12.48 lakh tonnes of pulses, 12.36 lakh tonnes of fruits and 1.56 lakh tonnes of dairy goods in FY222.
Meanwhile, Expatriates' Welfare Minister Imran Ahmad said some 73.19 lakh Bangladeshi workers went to different countries around the world from FY2009 to FY2021.
FY2017 saw the highest migration and FY2021 the lowest, he noted, adding that in the pandemic year of 2020, some 4.08 lakh workers returned home.