Poor people hit hard by rice price hike: Muhith

Staff Correspondent | Updated at 12:53am on December 25, 2017

Finance minister AMA Muhith on Sunday said the poor were suffering because of price hike of rice, which he hoped would come down with improvement in supply situation.
He made the observation at dividend handing ceremony of Grameen Bank at the secretariat, a day after the South Asian Network on Economic Modelling revealed that at least 5.2 lakh people had fallen into poverty because of rice price hike.
Commenting on the findings by the private think-tank, Muhith, however, noted that it was not possible now to calculate how many people had fallen into poverty trap due to price hike of rice.
At least one year is required to make such study, he observed.
The rate of poverty, according the state-owned statistical board, is 24.3 per cent in the country.
The South Asian Network on Economic Modelling said many people fell into poverty as they could not get enough time to adjust over 30 per cent increase in price of the staple following lower production due to floods and failure by the ministry of food in importing rice.
Muhuth also admitted that the government had wanted increase in price of rice for benefitting farmers.
‘But the price hike of even coarse rice by over Tk 50 is not expected at all,’ he added.
He hoped that price of rice would come down with the improvement of supply situation.
The country imported rice of Tk 2,912 crore in July-September against rice import of Tk 36 crore during the same months a year ago.
Earlier, he received a cheque worth Tk 6.17 crore from Grameen Bank as dividend for 2016, around Tk 30 lakh higher than 2015.
He also said the board of directors of Grameen Bank would be reconstituted before expiry of the tenure of the present government.
He said the reconstitution of Nobel Peace prize winning bank was being delayed because of cases filed by former managing director Muhammad Yunus.
He said Yunus and his followers were master of filing cases.