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Dhaka Tribune

BEA: 36 million people lost jobs in 66 days of coronavirus shutdown

Some 59.5 million people moved into different class structures during this period, of which 25.5 million became extremely poor, according to the chief of Bangladesh Economic Association

Update : 08 Jun 2020, 05:20 PM

Nearly 36 million people have lost their jobs in 66 days, ever since the first day of the countrywide shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Dr Abul Barkat, president of Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA), said on Monday.

During a virtual press conference, he also said 59.5 million people moved into different class structures during this period, of which 25.5 million people became extremely poor.

Around 61 million people are currently working in the country's job market, said the BEA president before adding, the “very rich” 17 million people were not affected.  

The highest job losses were found in service, agriculture, and industry sectors, he informed.  

Abul Barkat also said the ways to eliminate income inequality and wealth inequality should be included in the upcoming budget for the fiscal year 2020-21.

In the press conference, the BEA, the apex body of the country’s economists, placed a Tk13.96 lakh crore alternative budget for FY21 to fight Covid-19 and check growing inequality.

The proposed budget can be done without foreign and bank loans, said Prof Barkat.

The association also proposed the revenue could be Tk12,61,600 crore and deficit Tk1,35,000 crore.

The deficit could be met through the bond market, saving certificates and PPP, they suggested.  

Barkat added there was no need for foreign borrowing to finance the budget.

Barkat urged the government to allocate cash aid and ensure medical treatment for the marginalized population.

"We don't think the budget should be constricted. There is no alternative to an expansionary budget to fight Covid-19", he said.

The economist also suggested printing money on a limited scale, if needed amid the pandemic.

The association of the country’s economists recommended increasing budget allocations in health, agriculture and education.

Barakat suggested forming a 'Health Protection Department' and to allocate as much as Tk 40,000 crore for it.

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