Prices of essentials are rising sharply and going beyond the people's reach due partly to domestic reasons, including market distortion by a small number of dominant firms and lax regulations, said the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) today.
The CPD made the remarks at an event titled "CPD's Recommendations for the National Budget FY2023-24".
There are a number of essentials such as rice, sugar, soybean oil and beef that are more expensive in Bangladesh than in other developing or industrialised countries, said Fahmida Khatun, executive director of the think-tank.
Many families, including minimum wage earners across all sectors, are struggling to afford them. So, many of them are excluding meat and fish from their menus, she said.
International comparison of prices shows that the prices of essential food items don't fall in Bangladesh even when the international prices decline. Moreover, the prices of some food items have remained consistently higher than those in the global markets, according to Fahmida.
At least 28 imported essential food items currently face a high incidence of tax, she observed.
"In the backdrop of the soaring inflation, the National Board of Revenue should reduce the duties and taxes both at import and domestic levels in order to provide some respite to consumers with low and limited incomes."
CPD Research Director Khondaker Golam Moazzem and Senior Research Fellow Towfiqul Islam Khan also spoke at the event at the CPD office in Dhaka's Dhanmondi.