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Economy moving to comfortable zone as inflation eases: Planning Minister

Planning Minister MA Mannan on has said that Bangladesh economy is moving toward a comfortable position with the restoration of global food supply after Russia’s recent deal with Ukraine allowing export of food grains.

The minister said this at a press briefing at his office in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, while releasing the inflation data prepared by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) on Wednesday. He also spoke on the current state of the economy.

He said the government plans to prepare a list of most consumed 20-22 products to measure a separate inflation rate. These items are usually consumed by the marginal and lower middle-class people.

Mannan said the overall inflation rate decreased by 0.8 per cent to 7.48 per cent in July from the 7.56 per cent in June. “This is a good news,” he said.

The government has opened the door to importing rice and other food items easing the process. The increasing supply has already brought down the prices of edible oil, rice, vegetables, and some commodities, he said.

The inflation rate will come down gradually as the supply of rice and other commodities increased in the domestic market along with easing the global supply chain, the minister said.

According to the BBS data, the food inflation decreased to 8.19 per cent in July from 8.37 per cent in June. The non-food inflation in July little increased, to 6.39 per cent in July from 6.33 per cent in June.

The general inflation rate in rural areas was 8.02 per cent in July, while it was 6.51 per cent in urban areas. That is, the people of the village are burning more by the inflation than the city.

Regarding inflation, Mannan said, “We work with 422 products. Here is the problem; the price of some products fluctuates. Only for low-income people will change the system a bit.”

The BBS inflation data shows that rich people consumed around 80 to 90 items, but low-income people consumed 20 to 22 items.

Replying to a query the minister said, the rural people don’t feel the pain. Village people eat homegrown food. They do not take into account inflation. The lower income people are resilient.

Bangladesh witnessed an eight-year high 7.56 per cent inflation in June, the last month of FY21-22.

Before that, this important and sensitive indicator of the economy rose to 7.42 per cent in May. In June, the index increased by another 0.14 per cent to 7.56 per cent.

In July, slight decrease happened in the prices of boro rice, flour, mugdal, molasses, rui fish, hilsa, catfish fish, meat, eggs, milk, soybean, dried chilli, onion, ginger, garlic, potato, papaya, cloth, melamine utensils, cement, kerosene and coconut oil.

The BBS prepared the report by collecting data from 140 rural markets (haats and bazars) in 64 districts of Bangladesh.