The pandemic budget has to be based on realistic assessment

ডেইলি স্টার ড. ফাহমিদা খাতুন প্রকাশিত: ১২ এপ্রিল ২০২১, ০০:০০

After suffering for more than a year since March 2020, when we were just about to have some respite following the decline in infection and death rates, the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has returned with greater vengeance. With the virus spreading fast, uncertainty is looming large. And the concerns are compounded by the inadequacy of health infrastructure and economic opportunities. There is uncertainty about health and treatment. Uncertainty also prevails in case of livelihoods, income and overall economic situation of the country. Bangladesh economy, like the global economy, is still struggling to recover from the adverse impacts of the pandemic. About two thirds of the fiscal year (FY) 2021 has passed. Economic indicators are not showing much promise. A number of macroeconomic and sectoral indicators have performed below the expected level compared to a normal year. We were happy to see that Bangladesh economy had done far better than other countries in FY 2020 in terms of economic growth. And after about halfway through FY 2021, we started to discuss whether the economy is on its way towards a recovery and what strategies should be taken to make the recovery happen for all sectors.

Unfortunately, that discussion for the time being has taken a back seat as the world is once again struggling to deal with the health crisis. After a somewhat relaxed lockdown for seven days from April 5, the government now plans a week-long stricter lockdown from April 14. In view of the sufferings of the people and consequences for the economy of the lockdown in 2020, the government has been mindful this time and is taking steps in a measured way. While the health crisis seems to be unstoppable, the economic crisis is no less serious.

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