The cabinet on Thursday directed the ministries of finance and commerce along with Bangladesh Bank (BB) to prepare a report within three days on the present situation of the prices of essentials for the next course of action to tackle the challenges to emerge as the outcome of Russia-Ukraine war and COVID-19 pandemic.
"Finance Ministry, Commerce Ministry and Bangladesh Bank will give a comprehensive picture within two-three days," said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam while briefing the reporters at Bangladesh Secretariat after a meeting of the cabinet.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chaired the cabinet meeting that took place at the Prime Minister's Office.
The cabinet secretary said the commerce minister, finance minister and secretaries of both ministries have been asked to take comprehensive steps and place a report before all.
"Particularly, they will discuss on how to handle the matter, where to put restrictions and where to relax restrictions. They will give their report," he added.
He also mentioned that the matter of dollar price will also be in that comprehensive report.
Khandker Anwarul Islam 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 there are 26 articles in the proposed law. As per the law none can set up any haat and bazar (market) without taking prior permission from the government.
If any haat or bazar is set up in any area, the government will take that land 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 occupy Khas land of any haat and bazar and construct any establishment then every person will be fined not more than Taka 5 lakh or jailed for one year or both.
The cabinet secretary said Land Development Tax Act, 2022 was also approved in principle by the cabinet which will replace Land Development Tax Ordinance 1976.
As per the law land development tax upto 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 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 percent per annum.
Personal or family owned graveyard was kept under the purview of this tax, he added.
As per the Land Development Act, 2022 which was approved in principle, which will replace an ordinance of 1984, if any agricultural land produces export items or export oriented agricultural industries are 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, if anyone has that, the government will take that extra lands.
Any violation of this law will be punishable and the fine is up to Taka one lakh or one month of imprisonment.
Besides, National Mental Health Policy Bangladesh 2022 draft was approved by the cabinet to give mental health side by side the physical health more importance.
The cabinet secretary said the meeting also discussed about the COVID-19 related matters and was apprised that World Bank has allocated around US$ one billion loan to
carry out the COVID-19 related steps in Bangladesh as the country has shown tremendous success in tackling COVID-19 pandemic situation.
Responding to a question about the opening of Padma Bridge, he hoped that the bridge will be opened for traffic in the 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 added.
He also said highest degree of compliance has been maintained for Padma Bridge.
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 of vehicles, he said that usually the toll rate is fixed 1.5 times higher than the ferry toll.
The cabinet secretary also said that the Bridge Authority has to pay back the money to the government at one percent interest rate.