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Cost of rice and Cost of living October 8, 2010

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AL in its election pledges, promised to keep the price of rice to the minimum and within the reach of the common people. AL after forming the government has tried to keep it’s pledge in respect to price of rice. But the price of other essentials rises , some steadily and some occassionally in the market making the life harder for the low and middle income people.

The other items that making the life difficult is the cost of transport. The cost increases more in special occasions like Eid. The government has little control over the fare especially of Baby Taxi, the mode of transport of middle class citizens. Government has no effort to impose meter reading fare in Taxi, the reasons only better known to them.

The education cost is also increased over the years. The tuition fees is increased. The parents are compelled to admit their wards in coaching centers or have to employ additional teachers at home to compensate gap of teaching at school. At university level, Government has no control over the fees incurred by the administration of private medical colleges and universities.

The cost of living healthy is also gone beyond the reach of the common people. The Government hospitals and heath centers could hardly supply any medicine to the needy.When a major cost of medicare falls on the shoulder of a common man then he sees stars in his eyes. Such is the medicare support in our country.

Most of the people in urban areas, need to depend on rented house for their accommodation. As the government has no control over the rent, the owners are increasing the rent every year on their whims increasing the financial burden of common people.

The cost of living is also increased to maintain the culture in wedding, social functions etc and for the common man to pay the dowry for their daughters.

Will the government take necessary steps to keep the inflation controlled and to reduce the cost of living? Or the people will lose their last faith on the government?

An ordinary citizen

Price hike of essentials: a continuous challenge for the Care Taker Government January 5, 2008

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The price of rice, the most essential food for Bangladeshi citizen , had been rising continuously in the last few days. There are reasons for the price hike but one cannot explain all by visible theories the steep rise of price only in a few days period. The reasons for the rise are the effects of 2 floods and a devastating hurricane, rise of price in the international market, the diminishing stock in the local market, sudden declaration of price rise by India from 425 US$ to 500 US$. But the most panicky impact was created by the comment made by the Food Adviser Tapan Chowdhury when he said that the government has nothing to do with the price hike. A buying spree and a frustration gripped the common men and long queue has developed in the controlled priced shops of BDR.

Government tried to correct itself. The Finance Adviser declared that there are still many options left for the government to do. The Advisers’ Committee hold special meeting and discussed means to overcome the crisis. They met with the ambassadors and representatives and appeal to the friendly countries and donor agencies to extend their support in this crisis. Some countries responded especially Thailand and WFP is also responding encouragingly. New LCs have also been open for import of rice.

Food Adviser declared OMS (Open Market Sale) to start immediately. The BDR shops for selling rice at reasonable price have been stepped up their service. Suggestion has also come to import rice and other essentials through BDR. The Chief of Army Staff has declared the price hike as a catastrophe for the country and requested all to come forward to overcome the crisis.

The political parties have taken up the issue and are blaming the government for its failure to control the price. AL is even demanding to handover the power early by bringing the date for national election 6 months earlier though it is doubtful for the voter list to be completed by that time.

But the most dramatic comment came from Akbar Ali Khan, an ex- Adviser of the immediate past Care Taker Government, ‘Government should feed 15 million people free’. The immediate past CTG miserably failed to hold a peaceful election.

The Anti-Corruption Chairman Mashud Chowdhury said that unusual price hike is a matter of corruption and they will look into the matter and find out the persons who are liable for this.

The control of price of the essentials remains a challenge for the CTG even after one year of its governance. Natural calamities, high price in the international market, continuity of reservation of the businessmen, adversity from the political parties etc make the task of the government difficult.

But as Professor Wahiduddin Mahmood said if the CTG fails to control the prices, it will be difficult for them to fulfill their other objectives.

An ordinary citizen

Price hike of essentials : searching the causes September 15, 2007

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In a symposium recently held Dr. Hussain Zillur Rahman while presenting his research paper ‘Market and Price of Commodities, concluded that long supply chain and low productivity are mainly responsible for high prices of the essentials in our country.(Protom Alo, 14/9/07)

Finance Adviser Dr. Mirja Azizul Hoque who was present in the seminar as the chief guest agreed that the low productivity as one of the main reasons of the price hike. Because of low production, foods are required to be procured from the international market by higher prices.

Dr. Zillur Rahman does not like to accept the presence of syndicate as a cause of price rise in agricultural products. But Finance adviser told that difference of prices of about 20% between wholesale and retail price are reported.

Economist Dr. Wahiduddin Mahmood agreed that the long chain of supply as a cause of price hike but told that lack of employment in other sectors also contributes lengthening of the supply chain.

Finance adviser not in favour of much tax exemption as it may have adverse effect on the price of the commodities. He also added that subsidies are present in Agricultural sector and there is an upper limit for the interest of the agricultural loan.

But to the ordinary citizen it is not clear how only two factors cited in the paper are blamed for the present rise of price of the essentials, when these two factors are virtually present from long before.

And when our market especially the import is controlled by a few, it is easy to control the market by them.

How one explain the tendency of our big businessmen for hoarding the essentials like wheat, rice and sugar, in their godowns to the level of being non edible and the joint forces had to seize and destroy the items.

One may say that these attempts by the joint forces may disturb the equilibrium of the market and destabilize the prices but one cannot ignore the ‘human’ factors which are working behind the price hike.

An ordinary citizen

Politics and price of essentials July 25, 2007

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The price of essentials is not stable yet. It is rising day by day. The life of the low income and middle income group is affected much because of the rising trend of the price of the essential.

To decrease the agonye of the common people Government has open up chain of Fixed Priced shops by the BDR which also has little impact on the price of the commodities in the general market.


Government was blaming the ‘syndicate’ of businessmen for artificial increase of the price.They tried to identify the responsibles and to encourage the other businessmen to take initiative to overcome the situtaion.

Experts are saying that the drive of the CG against the importers in the early months discouraged the importers and businessmen. The drive was made for illegally holding rotten foods and grains in their godowns, many staffs and executive of different companies were arrested then.

Later the CG tried to ensure the businessmen not to take any drastic action against them. But the response was not satisfactory for long time.

Experts also blame the uprooting of the temporary hats and bazaars by the CG in its drive to clean the illegal temporary structures. That may disrupt the distribution chain of supply of the different food items in the country. The CG didn’t continue the cleansing program further.

In the last budget in June 2007, the Finance Adviser withdrew taxes from the import of essential items and tried to give support to our farmers in many ways.

Interestingly, the price of the items from which the tax was exempted, didn’t go down even after the budget. The Finance Adviser put the question to the business leader also. In response, the business leaders also demanded punishment to the wrongdoers.

It is also found that prices of the local commodities at the production level are low but increase many fold at cities and towns at the consumer end. Authority identified this as the maneuver of the middlemen and is trying to address.

Government is also increasing the number of the wholesale markets and retail markets in the capital and other parts of the country.

To increase the supply and to decrease the price of the Hilsha fish in the market, Government banned the import of Hilsha but with no effect on the market. Hilshas are being smuggled out of the country by different routes.

Government’s most recent move is to engage RAB to monitor the market.

But politics is also playing a part in the instability of the prices of essential commodities in the market.