The IMF called for strong action on food prices and on the international financial crises, during a meeting in Washington.
After the recent riots in a number of coutries, like Haiti, the Philippines and Egypt, Dominique Strauss-Kahn (photo), the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that hundreds of thousands of people will face starvation if foods prices keep rising. He added that the continuing food price inflation could cause conflict.
Earlier this week, Haitians ran through the streets protesting over soaring of food prices. At least five people died in the riots in Haiti, which is one of the poorest countries in the world. And the same scenes happened in many countries.
As a consequence, the Haitian Senate has voted to dismiss prime minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis. The president Rene Preval received a calling motion, backed by a special session of the upper chamber, asking him to appoint a new cabinet.
The Haitian president met food importers at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, that capital, and said $3 of the price cut would be paid by the private sector and the rest funded by money from international donors.
Protests in Bangladesh
During a news conference he said that “the situation is difficult everywhere around the world, everyone has to make a sacrifice.”
Bangladesh also went through riots over high food prices. About 20,000 textile workers have clashed with the police near the Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, as they were demanding better wages to meet high food prices.
On Saturday, 20 km south of the capital, in Fatullah, workers from more than a dozen textile factories fought police. The protesters wrecked cars and buses and vandalised factories, said the police.
“They became unruly demanding higher wages, saying their current wages don’t even meet basic food needs”, said Shafiqul Islam, a police sub-inspector.
Representatives of the military, labour and manufacturers will meet to try to diffuse the unrest, said Bhuiyan Mahbub Hasan, the local police chief.
Earlier, Bangladesh’s food minister had said that the “hidden hunger”, created in the country by the shortfall in the domestic grain output and the rising global prices, had intensified in the last few months.
Bangladesh’s garment manufacturers and textile workers earn some of the lowest salaries in the world. And textile workers are some of the worst hit in the country, with basic monthly salary as low as $25.
“The $25 basic minimum salary was fixed in 2006. But since then prices of rice and other food items have almost doubled or tripled”, said Nazma Akhter, president of the United Garments Workers Union.
He aslo said that the textile owners rejected their pleas, while workers have demanding a rise in their salaries. According to Mr Akhter, in the recent months, the prices of Bangladeshi products have even been reduced by foreign buyers, which compounded the problem.