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Despite lower per capita income Bangladeshis have to spend highest for food compared to others: CPD

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Despite lower per capita income Bangladeshis have to spend highest for food compared to others: CPD

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Inefficiency in market management, absence of competition and excessive profit-making by traders have forced Bangladeshis to spend the highest on food compared to 16 other countries with much higher per capita income, said the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD)

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Publisted at 12:03 AM, Mon Jun 3rd, 2024

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A Bangladeshi has to spend the highest on food despite a lower per capita income compared to that of 16 other countries, said the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).

“Bangladesh has the lowest per capita income among the 16 countries, including Jordan, Morocco, Bolivia, Uzbekistan, Laos, Indonesia, India, Tunisia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. However, a citizen of Bangladesh has to spend the highest for food,” CPD Research Director Khandoker Golam Moazzem said at a press briefing on "State of the Bangladesh Economy in FY2023-24” Sunday (2 June).

The event was organised by CPD at the think tank’s office in the capital’s Dhanmondi to highlight the updated scenarios of the country's economy. 

During the briefing, Dr Moazzem presented highlights of the per capita income of 16 countries and their per capita expenditure on food in a year.

He said that the prices of various necessary products in the local market are much higher than in other countries.

Graphic: CPD

“Soybean oil is being sold at Tk163 per litre in the country which is being sold at Tk105 per litre in the international market. Besides, sugar which is priced at Tk39 per kg in the European market is being sold at Tk130 per kg in Bangladesh,” he said.

“Despite low income, the people of Bangladesh have to continue their livelihood by purchasing necessary items at sky-scraping prices. Many essential commodities have become luxury products due to increasing prices,” Dr Moazzem added.

Stating the government does not have enough initiatives to control inflation, he said all the initiatives that were announced at various times have not been implemented. 

“There is weakness in market management. Bangladesh Competition Commission has also shortcomings,” he said.

To handle the pressure of inflation, the economist suggested increasing the assistance from the government for the poor people as well as reducing the tariff on daily commodities in some cases. 

“Many times, the tariff on some products is reduced but the consumers do not get its benefits as the reduction of the prices of the products depends on the will of the importers,” he added.

“Once there was a pattern of 5-6% inflation, but now it has jumped to 9-10%. Inflation is higher in Bangladesh than in Sri Lanka. It is a big failure of the government not to be able to tame the inflation. While Sri Lanka's per capita income is 68.76% higher than Bangladesh's, the country's per capita expenditure on food is only 63.64% of Bangladesh's. An Indian has to spend 53.79% on food compared to what a Bangladeshi has to,” Dr Moazzem further said.

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