Speakers said instability in the onion market arose not from the speculation of importers but also asymmetric information on demand and domestic production of the key cooking ingredient
Referring to the recent onion price hikes, economists and experts on Sunday said proper information on demand, supply, growth, employment and other indicators can stabilise the market of any product.
Correct information can also help formulate effective development plans for the intermediate and long-term period, they said at the inaugural session of the "Research Almanac".
They also said instability in the onion market arose not from the speculation of importers but also asymmetric information on demand and domestic production of the key cooking ingredient.
The Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) arranged the event at a hotel in the capital to publish the findings of 15 research done this year.
The speakers reiterated formulation of proper information to limit economic risks and close monitoring of the economic slowdown of India and China.
Former finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, who spoke as the chief guest, said the economy of Bangladesh has similarities with India in several aspects, including dependence on neighbouring countries.
"The government should analyse the situation of India and has to think why their economy is experiencing a four percent growth," he said.
"China's growth is also falling. Our economy might face the same situation," said Muhith.
The former minister said the size of budget in Bangladesh is small compared to other countries. "The budget-GDP ratio and the revenue-GDP ratio are the lowest in the world, and the ratios are not rising despite several initiatives."
Muhith praised the government for spending more than two percent of the GDP for social safety net, which has a significant role in maintaining higher purchasing power, boosting aggregate demand and reducing poverty rate.
"Based on expenditure on social security, Bangladesh improved in many socio-economic indicators and became a role model for Pakistan, India and other neighbouring countries," he said.
Muhith also said the world has a target to eradicate extreme poverty, but Bangladesh could achieve the target early if higher growth could be maintained for the next five years.
Dr Shamsul Alam, member of the General Economic Division (GED) under the Planning Commission, said, "Despite huge growth, Bangladesh does not have enough success in eradicating poverty."
"Despite the slow rate of poverty reduction, it is not falling in some areas and even rising in some areas," he said.
Shamsul blamed information gap for the poverty rate of above 70 percent in some districts.
"During the sixth five-year plan, the government succeeded in creating about one crore employments against the target of creating 1.04 crore jobs," he said, adding that the Labour Force Survey has identified many self-employed people as unemployed.
Shamsul said more than 300 enterprises import onion and the number is too large for a cartel to destabilise prices.
"Onion shortage in the country is only about one lakh tonnes if production is 23 lakh tonnes. Shortage will reach six lakh tonnes if production is 18 lakh tonnes," he said.
Former finance minister M Syeduzzaman said the lack of good governance and inefficiency in the banking sector would be a major challenge for the economic development in the near future.
He expressed annoyance over the low quality of education at all levels and emphasised more research in public and private universities.
Planning Secretary Nurul Amin recommended finding a way to meet the challenges of the economy after graduating from the list of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and maintaining enough finance to meet the challenges of climate change through research and innovations.
Dr K A S Murshid, director general of the BIDS, chaired the opening session. Event organisers said the findings of 10 research will be presented in three session on the opening day. The event will end on Monday after the unveiling of five research papers.