May 16, 2021

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How much pressure can our economy take to lockdown?

Lockdown to prevent corona. It temporarily reduced the incidence of corona, but we need to think about how much this economy can take the pressure of lockdown in the situation that we are already seeing in the general public small entrepreneurs, workers, artisans, businesses.

A number of emergency industries, including the export industry, are open in the lockdown, so their losses are minimal. But the manufacturers of various products, the entrepreneurs of small, small products who sell their products around Eid and other festivals, they have fallen into a serious predicament. There are also restaurants, transport, parlors, various ICT related services – those who are unable to continue their work. Millions of artisans-workers-employees are involved in all these initiatives. How long is it possible for the entrepreneurs of these sectors to continue the salaries of their workers and employees? Where the big entrepreneurs have to take the help of the government to pay the workers, then how can these small entrepreneurs continue that salary?

In the case of last year’s incentive package, the allocation of funds for very small and micro-entrepreneurs has been very slow. So far, about 75 percent have been distributed. Many entrepreneurs did not get that benefit. Especially those who do not have a transaction with the bank or whose business has suffered a lot, but they have remained out of the scope of this incentive. They were trying to turn around again. Failure to sell the product in such a situation can lead to severe loss of income and loss of employment.
Again, those who got incentive loan facility, if they can’t do business now, then how to repay the loan is also a matter of concern.
Day laborers, rickshaw pullers, shopkeepers, doormen, porters, cobblers, jhalamuri sellers – how long can these ordinary people continue like this?

The reality, on the other hand, is that corona can be suppressed by lockdown, but it is clear that we may have to live with corona for many more months or years. So far only 3% of the population has been vaccinated. Until all adults can be vaccinated, there is a need to think about ways to deal with corona. It has been commented that even if the vaccine is given to everyone, it may not be completely effective for everyone.

In that case we need an overall corona coping and management plan of at least one year. We need to keep in mind that if there is a lockdown like this day after day, it is not possible for many people to bear the economic pressure. We need to understand that Corona is not leaving after this lockdown.

The only way to control corona is to follow strict and strict hygiene rules. Wearing masks in the office-court and public place outside the house should be strictly observed.

We need to take measures like last year to provide food aid to the very poor people, increase the scope of food distribution. For many of these impoverished people, the thought of food insecurity is far more obvious than the risk of coronary heart disease.

Special incentive packages have to be announced for those sectors which have been included in the lockdown, i.e. those who are unable to trade their business. For those who have already taken a loan, the repayment period should be extended. Loan facility should be provided for entrepreneurs in the informal sector.

Sectors that are out of the lockdown, ie those that are able to continue their production work, will not be given any new incentives, nor will they be required to pay any special benefits to repay the loans already taken.

Under normal economic conditions, we have seen that inequality is the bright side as well as the bright picture of Bangladesh’s development. That income inequality will only increase if we keep big entrepreneurs out of lockdown, and small entrepreneurs struggle to survive. So the next incentive should be just for these tiny and tiny entrepreneurs.

Masks and soaps must be distributed among poor people to strictly enforce health regulations; Extensive publicity campaigns on the importance of hygiene must be continued. Every effort should be made by the local government and administration. For at least the next one year, there will be no relaxation in any way. If it can be observed, there will be no need to lockdown again.

There are many well-off people in this country who can stay at home for months, even if they don’t do any work, maintaining the normal pace of life will not be a problem. But it is not possible for low income people. The government as well as the rich should take initiative to help these people according to their ability.

And the call to everyone, those who can afford to buy as many domestic products as they can. It will play a role in saving the income and profession of many people involved in the production and supply of goods including many artisans, designers and workers of this country.

The sincere efforts of the government to save the lives and livelihoods of the people must be taken forward in a more precise plan.

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