July 17, 2024, 4:58 pm

Staff Correspondent

2024-03-16 22:20:30 BdST

Curbing inflation should be key focus in next budget: CPD

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) on Saturday said containing inflation should be the key focus in the upcoming budget of FY2024-25.

“The current high inflation exposes the country’s weakness in economic measures. Due to a lack of proper market management, and implementation of laws, the prices of different products increased abnormally. Only fines cannot be a solution here,” CPD Distinguished Fellow Prof Mustafizur Rahman said.

He was speaking at a media briefing on the “CPD’s Recommendations for the National Budget FY2024-25” at its office in Dhaka.

“Inflation is a big issue now. The weakness in internal management is responsible for the inflation hike. The value chain operators should be brought to book as per laws,” he said.

“If someone can make a profit of Tk50 crore in a week through ‘manipulation,’ the fine of Tk50 lakh or Tk1 crore cannot stop the malpractice. Last several years, we noticed that such fines did not bring any good results. So, the implementation of laws [up to life imprisonment] is needed,” the noted economist said.

He also added that the banking system has remained weak due to a lack of good governance. “However, it will be better for the country’s economy now if strong banks can help weak banks by establishing good governance.”

CPD Research Director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem said most of the ministries and departments concerned did not take proactive measures to tackle the current economic challenges after forming the new government.

“Institutional capacity should be strengthened to tackle the challenges of LDC graduation. Transparency and accountability are also important matters. Now we should focus on attracting more foreign direct investments in renewable energy,” he said.

Dr Moazzem also laid emphasis on the reformation of the tax structure.

In the programme’s PowerPoint presentation, CPD Executive Director Dr Fahmida Khatun recommended that the Bangladesh Competition Commission’s role should be strengthened.

“Required skilled professionals should be hired to this end, particularly with a view to monitoring markets of essential commodities on a regular basis.”

She said, “The Bangladesh Competition Commission should create a database, monitor the operations of prominent market players on a regular basis, investigate market control and manipulation [if any], and take appropriate actions. An adequate budget should be earmarked for the Commission to perform these duties.

“To this end, the Ministry of Commerce should also work in tandem with the Commission. The Commission should adopt a strong stance against cartels and a zero-tolerance policy towards collusive practices.”

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