May 07, 2020


Bangladesh 9th strongest emerging economy during Covid-19: Economist

The Economist, a globally acclaimed magazine for economic and political analyses, has put Bangladesh even before China and India, in a global league table of 66 emerging economies measured according to their financial strengths to cope under the strain of Covid-19 outbreak. As many as four potential sources of peril have been taken into account. These include public debt, foreign debt, and borrowing costs. Bangladesh has seen a rapid and positive rise in most economic and social indicators during the last 11 years under the leadership of Honourable Prime Minister (HPM) Sheikh Hasina. These investments are bearing dividend during this time of global and national crises.

Bangladesh recruits 2,000 doctors, 5,000 nurses to bolster health system

In order to bolster its existing healthcare system especially as regards the fight against Covid-19, Bangladesh Government has recruited 2,000 new doctors. A gazette notification in this regard was issued by the Ministry of Public Administration on Monday. The newly recruited doctors will be assigned as ‘Assistant Surgeons’ to their new workplaces by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) on 12 May 2020. By the same token, the process to recruit 5,000 new nurses is at its final stage and will be completed soon.

Bangladesh’s ‘General Closure’ extended till 16 May

The government of Bangladesh has extended the nationwide general closure till 16 May 2020 to curb the spread of the novel corona virus. The new order comes with some additional directives, including allowing shops and malls to open, on a limited scale, from 10 am to 5 pm. During the closure, no one may leave their workplaces during the Eid-ul-Fitr holidays. Inter-district travel will be strictly controlled public transportation will remain suspended. Strict stay-at-home orders apply from 8 pm to 6 am. This is the sixth time the closure has been extended which started on 26 March.

HPM Sheikh Hasina’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ against relief irregularities

As per direction of HPM Sheikh Hasina, the government of Bangladesh is implementing a ‘zero tolerance approach’ in dealing with allegations of irregularities and corruption in distribution of relief materials across the country. Till date, in 21 districts, 89 people have been arrested in connection with such allegations including local government representatives and dealers of food products. 89 cases have also been initiated. Action is being taken on a political front too. So far, 49 local government representatives have been temporarily suspended from their office by the Local Government Division of the Government.

$317 million easy loan scheme for low income groups

The government of Bangladesh has launched $317 million easy loan scheme for low income professionals, farmers and rural and micro entrepreneurs hit by the Covid-19 crisis. The central bank may increase the amount of this re-financing scheme as the need arises. The target groups will be able to access this financing without any collateral through reputed NGOs. In case of further financial crisis of those taking the loans, the system of insurance has also been incorporated. Women would get special preference in this scheme.

Central bank freezes interests on all loans for two months

Bangladesh’s central bank has frozen payment of all interests on loans for the months of April and May in a bid to help borrowers during the coronavirus pandemic. The move comes after an assurance given by HPM Sheikh Hasina to the business community on 27 April. She said ‘No one should worry about interest payments as Bangladesh’s biggest challenge right now is to protect lives and keep livelihoods running’.

80-year-old beats coronavirus, encouraging recovery rate in Bangladesh

Amid all the doom and gloom of rising coronavirus cases in the country, the hard work of the medics is apparently paying off with the number of patients recovering from the highly contagious disease is getting bigger every day. Recently, an 80-year-old man in Rangpur returned home after recovering from Covid-19 after 14 days of treatment. In line with a set of criteria, as set out by the Clinical Management Committee, as many as.1,910 covid-19 patients recovered and were released from hospitals as of Thursday.

HPM Sheikh Hasina’s stimulus packages set to roll out soon

Under the meticulous supervision of HPM Sheikh Hasina, a number of relevant government agencies and banks have almost completed their preparations to implement 18 stimulus packages, as devised and announced by the Bangladesh Premier, worth $11.26 billion, to tackle the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. In line with the PM’ directives, banks will give out a significant part of the total amount in the form of soft loans to large, medium and small businesses in the industrial and service sectors, and growers and entrepreneurs in the farm sector. The central bank has launched six refinance schemes to allow lenders to smoothly implement the credit programmes under the stimulus packages.

Emergency cash support for 5 million urban poor families during Covid-19

HPM Sheikh Hasina has announced a scheme to provide emergency cash support worth Tk 2,000 each to 5 million urban poor families this month. The target families, hit hardest by the Covid 19 economic inactivity, are primarily engaged in the informal labour sector -- mostly manual labourers, mechanics, construction workers, rickshaw and cart pullers, newspaper delivery persons, street vendors and restaurant employees. The initiative is part of an effort to help the most vulnerable people stay home during the coronavirus outbreak. It is estimated that these cash handouts, disbursed through mobile banking, will benefit around 20 million people in total.

Bangladesh’s food support programmes for 12.5 million people

The government of Bangladesh has started preparations to develop a database of nearly 12.5 million beneficiary families to ensure proper distribution of food aid. Under the scheme, 4.9 million families getting General Relief (GR) from the disaster management ministry, 5 million beneficiary from the food ministry's Food Friendly Program (FFP) while another 1.2 million recipients from the special Open Market Sales (OMS) programme would see their names in the database. According to media reports, families involving more than 50 million people will be given cards, entitling them recipients food assistance in May and June.

Tackling Covid 19 impacts: Farmers to get soft loans with concessional rates

In a bold move to perk up the growers who will feed the nation in the coronavirus-induced economic uncertainty, a scheme has been rolled out allowing farmers to avail agricultural loans at 4% concessional interest in the crop sector. Getting into effect from April 1 this year to June 30 next year, the tenure for the loans will be 18 months, including a grace period of six months at both banks' and clients' ends. Currently, farmers get concessional loans for growing selective crops, such as maize, lentils, oilseeds and spices. But under the new scheme, farmers will get concessional loans for other crops like rice, wheat and others, following the agriculture and rural credit policy.

Int’l cooperation to fight Covid-19: Dhaka, Delhi to tackle food crisis jointly, Sweden gives green light to RMG orders

Bangladesh and India decided to work together to increase food production to face the possible food crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic. Their pledge for a joint effort came when the Honourable Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi phoned his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina last week. In another development, the Honourable Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Löfven has assured the Bangladesh Premier that his country would not cancel any garment product orders from Bangladesh during the current crisis. In reply, HPM Sheikh Hasina expressed her firm optimism that Bangladesh would be able to deliver all orders of RMG products of global buyers despite the coronavirus outbreak.

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