Though the lockdown is a potentially successful tool to slow the spread of covid-19, it has a dismal impact on people when they cannot sustain their livelihoods
Speakers at a webinar on Tuesday sought more support from international communities as well as proper action plans to revive the virus-hit Bangladesh economy.
They said the Covid-19 led lockdowns broadly stop economic activity and reduce tax revenues, squeezing government resources when they seek to increase spending on health and social protection.
Though the lockdown is a potentially successful tool to slow the spread of covid-19, it has a dismal impact on people when they cannot sustain their livelihoods.
The experts shared these views in the virtual dialogue on "macroeconomic adjustments to the covid-19 pandemic: considerations for Bangladesh", jointly organised by Oxford Policy Management (OPM) and Policy Exchange.
OPM Country Manager Josh Chipman provided the welcome remarks while its principal economist Stevan Lee presented the keynote paper and Policy Exchange Chairman Dr. Masrur Reaz moderated the discussion.
The study highlights that recovery depends on how the public finances are restored to sustainability. Just raising taxes and cutting spending makes for a slow recovery. Tax systems are narrowly based and plagued by 'leakages' and exemptions; they distort private investment and drag down growth.
Dr. Ahsan Mansur, Executive Director at PRI stressed that health concerns need to be addressed before the economy can fully re-start, and that much-required reforms are missing in the current context.
Dr. Nazneen Ahmed of BIDS laid emphasis on improving education quality for employment generation. "We need more support from international communities to revive our country's economy. We are very concerned about employment generation. Youths should be skilled and trained up as per the market demand," she added.
Azizul Alam, Additional Secretary and head of Macroeconomic wing of Ministry of Finance highlighted that among the hardest hit are revenue mobilization, and implementation of annual development programme. "We need to revive small businesses to ensure employment protection," he also said.
Abul Kasem Khan, Chairperson of BUILD underscored the needs for better management of public finance including minimizing less productive expenditure in state-owned enterprises.
Dr Shamsul Alam, member (senior secretary) of General Economics Division said they are concerned about overcoming the situation. "We took Eighth five-year plan that will help to revive our economy. We would pursue jobs for the unemployed here," he also said.
Executive Director of SANEM Dr Selim Raihan, Bernard Haven from World Bank, Chairman of Chittagong Stock Exchange Asif Ibrahim, and Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Md Sirazul Islam also spoke there.