During the countrywide 'harsh' lockdown, day-laborers wait for work in capital's Kuril area on Monday. -Mostafizur Rahman/AA
The harsh economic impact of Covid-19 has hit hard the impoverished masses who live from hand to mouth. The government has imposed a lockdown all over Bangladesh as a result of the widespread contagion of coronavirus. All shops, hotels, restaurants, resorts, shopping malls, business activities are closed except a few emergency services. Under these circumstances, people's livelihoods have become jeopardized. The second wave of coronavirus has caused havoc to the country's poor people in financial terms.
On top of that, the rising prices of daily essentials have added more sufferings to the people living in both urban and rural areas. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) states that prices of daily necessaries have gone up by six percent. Price hike reached 5.64% in June, according to reliable sources.
A report by World Bank shows that before the advent of coronavirus, Bangladeshi people used to spend 74% money from their own pockets for healthcare services. The expenditure by the government hospitals is very much insufficient. Coronavirus has highly augmented people's expenses on healthcare. Thousands of families have become pauperized due to the adverse economic effect of Covid 19.
People belonging to the informal sector like footpath vendors, hawkers, construction workers etcetera have become financially helpless in the middle of the spread of coronavirus. People's earnings have hit the rock bottom. Some people find it hard to manage two meals a day. Economists have said that if this situation continues, then the government's revenue collection will also face hazards.
The authorities concerned will have to provide monetary support to the imperiled citizens to protect the country's economic foothold. People's purchasing capability will have to be upgraded. Executive Director of Policy Research Institute (PRI) Dr. Ahsan H. Mansur commented that now it is urgent to bring the country's people under the umbrella of vaccination as soon as possible.
He further said that the money of the stimulus packages should be delivered to the people who need it most. Former adviser to caretaker government Dr. Wahid Uddin Mahmud said, "The government should take special care of the new poor class of people. Bangladesh's economy will confront tougher circumstances if the people belonging to the lowest economic class cannot be protected from the financial perils caused by Covid 19".
Professor Dr. Abul Barakat, President of Bangladesh Economics Association said, "It is vital to make sure that the distribution of the stimulus packages money is implemented in the right way. The government should pay special attention to small and medium entrepreneurs (SME)."
Professor Anu Muhammad, Jahangirnagar University said, "In our country all money and wealth are accumulated in the hands of a group of filthy rich people. For this reason, the poor class of people does not get any financial benefits. This vicious circle will have to be reversed to ensure the sustenance of people who are suffering due to the detrimental economic fallout of Covid-19."
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