The Cabinet calls for a realistic assessment of commodity prices
The Cabinet Division on Thursday asked the relevant authorities to make a realistic assessment of the prices of basic necessities and the challenges ahead, in the next three days.
The directive to the ministries of finance and commerce and Bangladesh Bank came during the Cabinet meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chairing the PMO.
The Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce and Bangladesh Bank will give a “full picture in two or three days”, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam told a press briefing after the meeting.
The Cabinet ordered that the report include steps to be taken to overcome challenges in the wake of the Russian-Ukrainian war and the Covid-19 pandemic.
He also mentioned that the issue of the price of the US dollar will also feature in this comprehensive report.
Council of Ministers
He said the Cabinet had approved in principle the Haat and Bazar (Establishment and Management) Act 2022 to replace a 1959 ordinance on the matter to make it timely.
He said there were 26 clauses in the bill. According to the law, no one can set up a haat and a bazaar without the permission of the government. If an unauthorized haat or bazaar is set up in an area, the government will seize it as khas land, he said.
The district administration and government will manage the haat or bazaar land and no land can be transferred permanently.
According to the proposed law, if anyone or a group of people illegally occupy Kha lands of any haat and bazaar and build a settlement, they will be liable to a fine not exceeding Tk 5 lakh or a year’s imprisonment, or both.
Khandker Anwarul said the Land Development Tax Act 2022 has also been approved by Cabinet which will replace the Land Development Tax Ordinance 1976.
According to the law, the land development tax up to 25 bighas of agricultural land will be free, which has been done by Bangabandhu. But if someone owns more than 25 bighas of land, then that person has to pay taxes for the whole land.
If a piece of land is owned by more than one person, there will be a hearing to determine the specific owners’ share of that land and then the land development tax will be determined.
The penalty for non-payment of land development tax for more than three consecutive years will be 6.25% per annum.
Personal or family cemeteries were subject to this tax.
The approved Land Development Act 2022 will supersede a 1984 ordinance, if agricultural land produces export items or export-oriented agricultural industries are established on that land, the cap of 60 bigha for a person does not will not apply.
According to the current law, no one can own more than 60 bighas of land. The government will take back these additional lands if anyone is found in possession.
Any violation of this law will be punishable and the fine can be up to Tk 1 lakh or one month imprisonment.
Bangladesh’s draft National Mental Health Policy 2022 was endorsed at the meeting to give more prominence to mental health, alongside physical health.
The cabinet secretary said the meeting also discussed issues related to Covid-19 and was informed that the World Bank had allocated about $1 billion loan to Bangladesh to carry out the next programs. The country has shown tremendous success in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
Responding to a question about the opening of the Padma Bridge, he said it is hoped the bridge will be open to traffic in the last week of June.
“We are ready to do it. We hope to be able to prepare the bridge for opening before the last week of next month,” he added.
He also said the highest degree of compliance had been maintained for the construction of the Padma Bridge.
Responding to another question, he said the Prime Minister had said several times in the past that the name of the bridge would be Padma Bridge.
“She’ll settle the matter any day now,” he said.
Regarding the toll for vehicles crossing the bridge, he said that usually the toll is set at 1.5 times higher than the ferry fee.
He also said the bridge authority should repay the money to the government at an interest rate of 1%.