June 30, 2022, 6:49 pm

Staff Correspondent

2022-05-20 12:50:45 BdST

Cabinet asks for realistic assessment of essentials’ price within three days

The cabinet on Thursday directed the authorities concerned to make a realistic assessment of the prices of the essentials and the challenges ahead within the next three days.

The directive to finance and commerce ministries and Bangladesh Bank came at the cabinet meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair at the PMO.

The finance ministry, commerce ministry and Bangladesh Bank will give a "comprehensive picture within two or three days," Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said at a media briefing after the meeting.

The cabinet directed that the report should include measures to be taken in overcoming the challenges in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ministries and the central bank have been asked to submit the report especially in detail on "How to handle the matter, where to put restrictions and where to ease them," Khandker Anwarul said.

He also mentioned that the issue of the price of US dollar will also be in that comprehensive report.

He said the cabinet approved Haat and Bazar (establish and management) Act, 2022 in principle to replace an Ordinance of 1959 regarding the matter to make it time befitting.

He said that there are 26 articles in the proposed law. As per the law no one can set up any haat and bazar without permission from the government.

If any unauthorized haat or bazar is set up in any area the government will take over that as Khas land, he said.

The district administration and government will manage the lands of haat or bazar and no land can be transferred permanently.

As per the proposed law if anyone or a group of people illegally occupies Khas land of any haat and bazar and construct any establishment be fined not more than Tk 500,000 or one years of imprisonment or both.

Khandker Anwarul said Land Development Tax Act, 2022 was also approved by the cabinet which will replace Land Development Tax Ordinance 1976.

As per the law, land development tax up to 25 bighas of agricultural land will be free, which was done by Bangabandhu. But If anyone owns more than 25 bighas of land then that person has to pay tax for the whole land.

If any land is owned by more than one person in that case there will be hearing to determine the specific portion of owners of that land and after that the land development tax will be determined.

For not paying of land development tax more than three consecutive years, the penalty will be 6.25 per cent per annum.

Personal or family owned graveyard was put under the purview of this tax.

The approved Land Development Act, 2022 will replace an ordinance of 1984, if any agricultural land produces export items or export oriented agricultural industries established on that land then the 60 bigha ceiling for a person will not be applicable.

As per the existing law no person can own more than 60 bighas of land. The government will take over that extra land if anyone is found in possession.

Any violation of this law will be punishable and the fine is up to Tk 100,000 or one month of imprisonment.

National Mental Health Policy Bangladesh 2022 draft was approved in the meeting to give mental health side by side the physical health more importance.

The cabinet secretary said that the meeting also discussed the Covid-19 related matters and was apprised that World Bank has allocated around US$ 1.0 billion loan to Bangladesh to carry out next programmes. The country has shown tremendous success in tackling Covid-19 pandemic situation.

Responding to a question about the opening of Padma Bridge, he said it is hoped that the bridge will be opened for traffic in last week of June.

"We are ready to do that. We hope that we will be able to ready the bridge for opening before the last week of the next month."

He also said that highest degree of compliance has been maintained for Padma Bridge construction.

Responding to another question he said that the prime minister several times in the past said the name of the bridge will be Padma Bridge.

"She will clear the matter any day," he said.

Regarding the toll for vehicles for crossing the bridge, he said that usually the toll is fixed at the 1.5 times higher than the ferry fee.

He also said that the bridge authority have to pay back the money to the government at 1.0 percent interest rate.

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