Bangabandhu’s daughter PM Hasina’s prudence and outstanding leadership are reflected in her economic packages offered to fight against Covid-19
Published Time: April 19, 2020, 8:49 pm
Updated Time: April 19, 2020 at 8:49 pm
Tasmiah Nuhiya Ahmed, an Advocate of Bangladesh Supreme Court & Executive Editor of Daily Our Time
“My greatest strength is the love for my people, my greatest weakness is that I love them too much”, a famous quote by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of our nation. Bangabandhu has shown up the first sign of being a people’s leader in the year 1943 when he distributed rice to the famine-stricken people from his father’s stockpile. Our Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is the daughter of Bangabandhu. She grew up seeing her father to comprise everything he had for people of his country. After Bangabandhu was brutally killed in 1975, this nation lost its father. And now this country got Bangabandhu’s daughter as its leader, who has successfully proved her leadership qualities till date.
For last one and a half months, we have been going through a crisis, which is very unique in nature. The entire world is trembling due to the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Bangladesh is not an exception. It feels like peace and happiness have gone away from our world as Coronavirus is spreading and taking lives of our loved ones. Coronavirus has been already declared as a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO). According to Worldometer, there have been 2456 coronavirus cases in Bangladesh and 91 people died from Coronavirus, as of 19 April 2020.
However, the government led by PM Hasina has demonstrated strong political will and firm commitment in combating COVID-19. Bangladesh government has taken various steps to protect its people from Coronavirus. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has announced a master economic package to prevent the spread of this lethal virus and also to tackle the possible adverse impacts on the national economy due to the outbreak of Coronavirus in our country.
Stimulus packages worth Tk 95,619 crore has already been announced by the worthy daughter of the greatest Bengali of all time, Bangabandhu (Source: Independent, 13 April, 2020; Title: PM unveils four programmes to tackle fallout from Coronavirus).
Therefore, it seems that the government under the outstanding leadership of PM Hasina is not leaving out a single scope to protect our nation from this Coronavirus.
** Bangladesh is predominantly an agricultural country where agriculture sector plays a vital role in accelerating the economic growth. It is therefore important to have a profitable, sustainable and environment-friendly agricultural system in order to ensure long-term food security for people. For this reason, the government has announced a stimulus package of Tk 5,000 crore for providing financial assistance to the farmers in rural areas. Such a substantial financial incentive will certainly contribute to the increase of agricultural production. The money from this fund shall be disbursed to small and medium farmers only at a rate of maximum 4 percent interest. The small and medium farmers under this package include those of poultry and dairy sectors in rural areas. (Source: Independent, 13 April, 2020; Title: PM unveils four programmes to tackle fallout from Coronavirus).
** The Government has declared to procure extra 2 lac metric tons of paddy and rice compared to last season for ensuring the fair prices of Boro paddy for the farmers. Moreover, it has allocated Tk 200 crore for the procurement of agricultural machinery. Furthermore, the government also allocated Tk 9,500 crore for the subsidy to the agricultural sector. (Source: Independent, 13 April, 2020; Title: PM unveils four programmes to tackle fallout from Coronavirus).
** PM Sheikh Hasina believes that to overcome this crisis, it is very essential to pay attention to our agriculture sector. And hence, our PM has directed to ensure that no piece of land anywhere in the country is left uncultivated. She directed the Ministry of Agriculture to facilitate farmers and to provide them all necessary materials to ensure optimum output.
** Doctors, nurses and other health workers are working tirelessly to provide treatment to COVID-19 patients. They are our frontline heroes in this fight against COVID-19. They are providing service during this crisis taking risk of their own lives and family members. In order to assure them that the government shall always be beside them, PM Hasina has announced to provide them with a special honorarium of Tk 100 crore.
** In addition, the government has allocated Tk. 750 crore for the health insurance and life insurance of frontline workers, who are directly engaged in the service in the fight against COVID-19. From this insurance fund, anyone who gets infected with COVID-19 while discharging his or her duties will get Tk. 5 to10 lac. Notably, if anybody dies while discharging his duties, the health insurance amount shall be five times higher. Beneficiaries of this insurance fund will cover doctors, nurses, other health workers, field-level administration officers, members of law enforcement agencies, Armed Forces and BGB, and other government employees who are directly engaged in the service of fighting against COVID-19 (Source: Independent, 13 April, 2020; Title: PM unveils four programmes to tackle fallout from Coronavirus).
** Export is a potential weapon for growth of Bangladesh economy. Bangladesh’s export earnings are mostly determined by the export of readymade garments (RMG) as according to research reports, 75% of total export earning is coming from RMG sector. Ready Made Garments (RMG) sector plays an important role in the total economy of Bangladesh (Source: The Impact of export revenue on gross domestic product (GDP): Evidence from Bangladesh). RMG sector improves our GDP and hence Government has offered a Tk 5,000 crore “stimulus package” for export-oriented industries for paying wages to the workers. The fund can only be used for the purpose of paying wages and allowances to the workers and employees in the export-oriented industries (Source: Financial Express, March 25, 2020; Title: ‘Tk 50.0b stimulus package for export-oriented sectors to pay wages’).
** The government will provide working capital of Tk 30,000 crore for the COVID-19 affected large industries and service sector institutions and the government will provide Tk 20,000 crore as working capital for the small and medium industries. The interest rate of this loan facility will be 4.5 percent for large companies and 4.0 percent for small and medium industries. Although the interest rate of the loan will be 9 percent, however, the government will give the respective bank subsidy of the rest of interest (Source: Financial Express, 06 April 2020; Title: Business welcome stimulus package, stress on monitoring and Independent, 05 April 2020; Corona fallout: PM unveils new stimulus packages of Tk 67,750 cr).
** Bangladesh Bank will introduce a new loan facility system titled ‘Pre-shipment Credit Refinance Scheme’. The amount of this loan facility will be Tk 5,000 crore in total where the interest rate will be 7 percent. (Source: Independent, 05 April 2020; Corona fallout: PM unveils new stimulus packages of Tk 67,750 cr).
** The Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment will arrange loans for returnee expatriates which will be up to Tk 500,000-700,000. This loans will be given to the returnee expatriates (who were compelled to return home after losing their jobs due to the Corona situation) in order to make them enable to pursue viable income activities (particularly in the agricultural sector). (Source: Daily Sun, 15th April 2020, Title: Government to provide loans to returnee expatriates). Meanwhile, the government announced that every Bangladeshi returnee will be given Tk 5,000 on arrival at the airport as conveyance and the families of expatriate workers who died of Coronavirus will be given Tk 300,000 each. (Source: Daily Sun, 15th April 2020, Title: Expat’s family to get Tk 3 lac from government for death from Covid-19).
** The Government has allocated Tk 760 crore to send one-time cash to the bank accounts of day-labourers, rickshaw-pullers or van-pullers, transport workers, construction workers, newspaper hawkers, hotel employees and other professionals who have lost their jobs due to the general holidays and lockdown. In this regard, directives have been given to prepare the list of such persons with their respective bank accounts (Source: Independent, 13 April, 2020; Title: PM unveils four programmes to tackle fallout from Coronavirus).
** The government would bring 50 lac more poor people under its ration card facilities to provide them with rice at Tk 10 per kg to mitigate their sufferings caused by the Coronavirus outbreak (Source: The Daily Star, 17 April 2020).
** Bangladesh Bank has declared that, no loan taker shall be declared as a loan defaulter until June (Source: Financial Express, March 25, 2020; Title: ‘Tk 50.0b stimulus package for export-oriented sectors to pay wages’).
** The Government has set a progamme called ‘GhoreFera’ which will give assistance to the members of the lower income groups in their own village. Homeless and landless people will get free housing, food for six months and cash incentive. (Source: Financial Express, March 25, 2020; Title: ‘Tk 50.0b stimulus package for export-oriented sectors to pay wages’).
** Moreover, the Government has allocated 5 lac metric tons of rice and 1 lac metric ton of wheat for distribution among the low-income group people and the market price of this allocation is Tk 2,503 crore. (Source: Independent, 13 April, 2020; Title: PM unveils four programmes to tackle fallout from Coronavirus).
** For the low-income people living in urban areas, the sale of rice at Tk 10 under the OMS has started and 74,000 metric tons of rice will be distributed under this programme and the government had to allot Tk. 251 crore for this. (Source: Independent, 13 April, 2020; Title: PM unveils four programmes to tackle fallout from Coronavirus).
** The government has also announced that, the net of ‘old age allowance’ and ‘widow and husband-abandoned women allowance’ will be widened to cent percent under the social safety net programmes in 100 highest poverty-stricken upazilas. The budget for this programme is Tk 815 crore. (Source: Independent, 13 April, 2020; Title: PM unveils four programmes to tackle fallout from Coronavirus).
** Our government has extended cooperation to some countries like Bhutan, Maldives, China in fighting back Coronavirus because this government, as was dreamt by Bangabandhu; believes in maintaining friendly relationship with foreign countries. Our Honorable Prime Minister has sent medicines and equipments to countries like Bhutan, Maldives.
From the above discussion, it seems that none has been left out from government’s assistance programmes. Lower class, middle class and lower middle class- each of these groups is going to be benefitted as intended by our PM. She has been exceptionally competent in planning out these economic incentives.
It is expected that, such a brilliant and business friendly economic package will help the country economy to bounce back if the packages are implemented carefully with having no corruptions in it. Moreover, PM has also warned to take stern action against those who are getting involved in corruption and irregularities in distribution of relief.
Coronavirus is a global pandemic, which can be fought back only when everyone cooperates with government. Our Honorable PM deserves appreciation for her initiatives taken to prevent the spread of this pernicious disease in our country. This futuristic leader has planned out economic packages for the people of her country in such a way that would help the country to overcome the impact of Coronavirus outbreak on our people in longer term.
While concluding, I urge everyone to co-operate with our government in defeating COVID-19.