Bangladesh must keep a careful eye on the economy and ensure that it remains healthy
In these troubling times, while Bangladesh takes steps to ensure the health of its citizens, it must also keep a careful eye on the economy, and ensure that it too remains healthy and that the fallout from the spread of the coronavirus does not end up hurting the people who call this country home.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s announcement -- that there will be a bailout of Tk5,000 crore for export-oriented companies -- is definitely a welcome one.
With the global and indeed our national economy at a standstill, millions of workers across the country will not be able to earn their daily wage, and thousands of businesses will be losing out on revenue.
This bailout, to a large extent, will go towards ensuring that people keep their jobs, and that the economy continues to remain buoyant.
The priority must be clear: Protect the ones most vulnerable to this new situation.
The future at this point in time is an uncertain one and, as such, the country should come together to ensure as much certainty as it can so that people can rest assured that, no matter what, their families and their livelihoods are not at risk.
If Bangladesh is to practice proper self-isolation and quarantining, people cannot be made to feel that they have no option but to leave their homes.
We are pleased to hear that “the government’s highest priority is to save people” and it is encouraging to see the government has set up alternative modes of employment on Bhashan Char.
However, there are other local businesses and low to middle income families who are hurting. We hope the government continues to work towards inclusivity in the upcoming weeks, so that no Bangladeshi’s life is at risk, either from the coronavirus or from the economic fallout.