Nation this week
Inflation shot up to 6.3 percent in April - highest in 18 months - amid persistently high food and non-food prices, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). But even this is very likely a large underestimate. In March, according to the BBS, overall inflation was 6.22 percent.The previous high was recorded at 6.44 percent in October 2020.
In April, food inflation, a measure of increase in prices of a basket of food items, stood at 6.24 percent, down from 6.34 percent the previous month.Non-food inflation surged 6.4 percent in April from 6.04 percent in March this year.
People in rural areas bore the brunt of higher inflation than urban areas in April. General inflation was 6.59 percent in rural areas whereas it was 5.75 percent in urban areas, according to BBS. Economists say that actual inflation could be higher than the BBS estimate as it has been using 2005-2006 prices for years to calculate the consumer price index.
Bangladesh Bank officials and employees will not be able to make any kind of foreign trips from now on except for some emergency purposes as part of the central bank's efforts to prevent the foreign currency reserves from sliding further. According to a notice to this effect, the officials and employees will refrain from participating in all types of exposure visits, study tours, workshops and seminars abroad under partial or full financing of the central bank.
They can, however, make foreign tours only for medical and hajj purposes. Besides, they will be able to go abroad to take part in training with full funding from foreign organisations, according to the notice. In order to ease pressure on foreign exchange reserves, the government on May 11 decided to stop foreign trips of its officials and postponed the implementation of less important projects that require imports.
A team of the technical evaluation committee of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission recommended increasing the bulk power price by 58 percent, against the Power Development Board's proposal for raising it by 66 per cent. The committee came up with the proposal at a day-long public hearing held at the BIAM auditorium in the capital on Wednesday. If accepted, the price per unit of electricity for bulk customers would rise from Tk 5.17 to Tk 8.16, said BERC director and the technical body head Md Didarul Alam.
The technical committee justified the power price hike in line with the rise in import cost of furnace oil, diesel and coal. They also blamed the Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the volatile dollar markets for the soaring price. PDB's general manager CFK Musaddeq Ahmed said that if the power price was not adjusted, the deficit of 2022 calendar year would stand at Tk 30,251.8 crore.
The High Court ordered a judicial inquiry into the transfer of nurses working in various government hospitals in the country. A bench comprising Justices Mozibur Rahman Miah and Khizir Hayat passed the order after hearing a writ petition. The court directed the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to submit a report by July 26. According to the writ, about four thousand nurses were transferred in the months of September, October and November last year and it has been alleged that a syndicate has embezzled around Tk100 crore through the recruiting process.
The writ also included a report published in a daily on February 7 where it is stated that a specific syndicate is conducting the nurse transfer business. A man named Jamal Uddin from Kushtia allegedly formed the syndicate by introducing himself as a relative of a high-ranking official of the Directorate General of Nursing and Midwifery, reads the report.
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