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PM reiterates call for boosting food production

Published : 14 Nov 2022 10:33 PM | Updated : 15 Nov 2022 05:23 PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday reiterated her call to the countrymen to boost food production to address any future food challenge emerged from persisting international situations.

Sheikh Hasina made the call while she was chairing the regular cabinet meeting held at the Prime Minister's Office in the capital.

At the meeting, the Premier and the Cabinet issued a series of observations and instructions on deferent issues alongside food production, as the year 2023 is likely to be a "crisis year" due to three international factors, including the post-Covid and Russia-Ukraine war.

To overcome this situation, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet have urged everyone to be prepared. Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam briefed reporters about this outcomes of the meeting at the Bangladesh Secretariat in the capital.

He said that these matters were discussed during the presentation of the annual report on the activities of the ministries and divisions for the fiscal 2021-2022 in the meeting.

Based on the report of The Financial Times, the cabinet secretary highlighted the apprehension that next year will be a crisis year.

While talking about the instructions and observations, the cabinet secretary said, first of all, the production of food has to be increased at all times, because no matter how much food imports are talked about, the problem will remain there.

Although the ban on food grain exports from Russia and Ukraine has been lifted, but as foreign exchange is in crisis, the countries which work on debt or have high imports are facing trouble due to the Federal Reserve's rate hikes, he said.

So, Taka has to be given more while making payment and getting less when receiving money, Anwarul added.

He continued that "for this, everyone has to work hard to increase food production and it has potential."

Khandker Anwarul Islam said, secondly, skilled workers should be sent abroad instead of unskilled workers as it will bring opportunity for the labourers to work with high salary.

He said that this opportunity should be extended following the needs of the respective countries. And in the case of certificate of competence, the certificate of the appropriate institution should be given, he added.

Thirdly, he said that some guidelines have been given to increase expatriate income (remittance).

To this end, Bangladesh Bank has issued a circular, or will issue one.

No separate fee will be charged for sending remittances from now on, he said, adding the bank which will send money will look into the matter and in some other cases flexibility has been instructed.

The cabinet secretary said, fourthly, foreign investment has to be increased and for this, it has been asked to see whether the investment conditions can be made more flexible.

This issue has already been discussed several times and work is in progress, he said, adding that Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) will have several branches.

For example, one does not have to go to the municipality or city corporation for the license.

Apart from this, the cabinet has also given instructions to keep the food stock in good condition at all times.

In this regard, the cabinet secretary said that the current food stock situation is in a very good condition.

He said the private sector has been allowed to import large quantities of food and the amount is about 15 lakh metric tons.

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has also been directed to be flexible on certain taxes at source on food imports, he said, adding that NBR will discuss and implements satisfactory provisions immediately.

The cabinet secretary also said that instructions have been given to cultivate all uncultivated lands.