The low-income people have been hit hardest by the ongoing restrictions
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday announced five new packages, involving Tk3,200 crore, to assist people with little income or no income.
These packages will be used to assist the low-income group of people who have been hit hardest by the ongoing lockdown imposed due to the alarming spread of coronavirus, said a PMO media release signed by the prime minister's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim.
Of the total amount, Tk450 crore will be given to 1,437,389 day-labourers, 235,033 transport workers, 50,445 small businesspeople, and 1,603 shipping workers. In total, some 1,724,740 people will get Tk2,500 each.
To assist the low-income group of people living in urban areas, the government will conduct a special 14-day open market sale (OMS) from July 25 to August 7 across the country through 813 centres.
For this, the media release said, 20,000 tons of rice and 14,000 tons of flour worth Tk150 crore have been allocated.
A special allocation of Tk100 crore has been made in favour of deputy commissioners of the districts to provide food assistance for the poor people through 333 call centres.
To finance employment-generation activities in rural areas through Palli Sanchay Bank, Karmasangsthan Bank and PKSF, the government has allocated Tk1,500 crore.
This money will be given at a 4% interest rate, the media release said, adding that this money is in addition to the Tk3,200 crore given earlier.
An amount of Tk1,000 crore will be given as a loan through the banking channel as working capital at a 4% interest rate to pay the salaries and allowances of employees in the tourism sector like hotels, motels and theme parks.
Last year, the prime minister had announced a total of 23 stimulus packages of Tk124,053 crore to keep rolling the wheels of the country’s economy against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic.
When the first wave of Covid-19 hit the country, she provided cash support of Tk2,500 each to 3.65 million poor families and vulnerable groups across the country.
This year, the premier in the second phase of financial assistance also distributed Tk2,500 to some 3.65 million families hit hard by the second wave of the pandemic.
In the first wave of Covid-19, a total of nearly 25 million people, including day-labourers, transport workers, hawkers, rickshaw pullers, school and madrasa teachers, students, Imams and Muazzins along with people of other religious organizations, journalists and other low-income people, were brought under the government’s assistance due to prime minister’s humanitarian assistance initiative.