Business & Economy

Bangladesh rolls out subsidized food program to curb rising prices

Dhaka, Mar 20 (EFE).- Bangladesh Sunday rolled out a subsidized food program for 10 million families amid skyrocketing prices of consumables in the country.

“We started (the) program from Narayanganj (near capital Dhaka). In the first phase, 10 million families will get subsidized food until Mar.30,” Humayun Kabir, a spokesperson for the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh, told EFE.

Kabir said that edible oil, sugar, and lentil would be sold in open trucks in the first phase of the program.

He said gram, used to break the fast, would be added to the subsidized items in the second phase, coinciding with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

A family will be able to buy a maximum of two kilograms of subsidized items from TCB sales points.

The move to sell essential items at subsidized as rising prices of food items have severely affected the life of low-income and fixed-income group families.

Newspaper employee Abdul Mannan said he recently changed his house to a cheaper location to meet the extra expense for food for his five-member family.

“I used to live in a three-bed apartment. Last month, I shifted to a two-bed apartment in a cheaper location because I could not afford the rising food price. I saved Taka 5,000 ($59) this way to feed my children,” Mannan said.

The government ordered tax waivers and conducted raids against hoarders to control the rising food prices.

Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB) welcomed the move to sell food at subsidized rates.

“It is a good initiative, no doubt,” CAB chairman Ghulam Rahman told EFE.

He said 10 million families meant that more than 50 million people would directly benefit from the program. That is roughly one-third of the population.

“If the government can meet the demand of this large segment of the population, it is bound to bring the prices down.”

According to Asian Development Bank, in Bangladesh, the population living below the national poverty line dropped to 20.5 percent in 2019 from 24.3 percent in 2016.

Various studies conducted by local and international research groups found that the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed the poverty rate up. EFE


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