Swift disbursement of working capital and salary support will be required to re-ignite the economy
Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka (MCCI) and Bangladesh Employers Federation (BEF) appreciated the government's stimulus package to overcome the impact of COVID-19.
A sum total package of Tk 72,750 crore which has been announced by the government is entirely appropriate at the moment, MCCI and BEF said.
They thanked the Prime Minister for a timely and bold response to minimize the possible devastating impact of COVID-19 and stimulate the country's economy, said a press release.
Swift disbursement of working capital and salary support will be required to re-ignite the economy, they added.
The organizations said targeted task forces should be put in place to monitor that the support being provided by the Government is in fact reaching the persons for whom they are designed.
In order to ensure that the economy receives the stimulus it requires as the situation unfolds, MCCI and BEF urged the Government to set up a series of targeted task forces to study and model the effect of any increase in the contagion in terms of numbers, time and area.
We also recommend that there should be a public-private Task Force to evaluate and monitor the credit management system based on bank-client relationships.
The Task Force may consist of senior officials from public and private banking sectors, representatives from Bangladesh Bank, Banking Division under Ministry of Finance, independent financial experts and members of the business community who are not bank owners or Directors.
The role of the Task Force should be to ensure monitoring of transparent loan and recovery processes and suggest any improvement needed as the situation demands.
The government may consider other innovative approaches to boost local consumer demand, they also said.
The upcoming Ramadan and Eid ul Fitr is an extremely important period for the local economy in terms of consumer spending across all categories of products and services from food items to locally made clothes to recreational services, accounting for thousands of Crores of sales for thousands of firms and individuals across Bangladesh.
A slump in demand at this time could threaten their very existence.
Judicious assessment will have to be made to identify the actual sufferers like hawkers, rickshaw pullers, vegetable vendors, dressmakers, small telephone and other repair shops, daily workers etc.
The various digital platforms put in place by the Government may be used effectively for this.
There may be a special focus on helping the returnee migrant workers who are mostly jobless now and also the families of other migrant workers living in the country.
A solution may be designed to offset their immediate crisis of middle and low income persons who will suffer in particular from not being able to pay, for example, house rent.
The orgnisations said our preoccupation with containing inflation and budget deficits needs to be temporarily put aside if we are to bring back demand and economic activity to anywhere near normal levels.