Rohingya influx causes price hike, pushes down wages

DHAKA, Rohingya influx caused 50 percent price hike of essential commodities while it pushed down the wages of Bangladeshi day labourers in Cox's Bazar.

This was revealed today by a study that also said over 2500 households of host community fell below poverty line, and 5500 acres of reserved forest and 1500 hectares of wildlife habitat had been destroyed due to the Rohingya influx since 2017.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in association with the Policy Research Institute(PRI) of Bangladesh and Cox's Bazar local administration conducted the study titled Impacts of the Rohingya Refugee Influx on Host Communities to explore socioeconomic effect on host community, covering price, wage and poverty incidence.

The findings of the joint impact assessment study were unveiled at a workshop at BRAC Centre here where Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen was present as chief guest.

The findings emphasised that the stress resulting from such a huge influx had created the need for increased focus on host communities, as well.

The report suggested better coordination and collaboration among the government and agencies working in Cox's Bazar in widening livelihood support programmes for the host community.

It recommends for integrating humanitarian efforts into longterm development goals for the whole district to benefit the local community as well as Rohingyas.

Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar district and most of them arrived there after August 25, 2017 after a military crackdown by Myanmar, which the UN called a textbook example of ethnic cleansing and genocide by other rights' groups.

The foreign minister said the study will help the government and other development organisations including UN agencies to design future development programmes in Cox's Bazar and Bandarban districts.

Momen hoped that Myanmar will create conducive environment inside Rakhine to start safe Rohingya repatriation soon.

Currently, the foreign minister said even countries that had traditionally close ties with Myanmar are beside Bangladesh for starting the repatriation process.

PRI Research Director Dr MA Razzaque presented the report while PRI Chairman Dr Zaidi Sattar and UNDP Resident Representative Sudipto Mukherjee, among others, also spoke at the meeting.

Zaidi said Bangladesh is now hosting 4.7 percent of the world's refugee population with only 0.3 percent of global output. Bangladesh has done more than its due share of providing a global public good, he added

He said the global community must continue their pressure on the Myanmar government for the safe, secure and dignified repatriation of Rohingyas.

Dhaka University's International Relations department professor, Dr C R Abrar, Research Initiative's Bangladesh executive director, Dr Meghna Guha Thakurda and executive director of PRI executive director Dr Ahsan H Mansur took part in the panel discussion.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)