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‘21.33pc households receive govt relief during pandemic’

Economy is bouncing back quickly from COVID-19 impact, PM’s principal secretary says


| Updated: October 15, 2020 19:46:56


Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus addressing a press briefing at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Thursday  -PID Photo Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus addressing a press briefing at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Thursday  -PID Photo

Around 21.33 per cent households of the country received government assistance or relief items during the Covid-19 period, from March to August.

Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus gave the information at a press briefing on Thursday citing a survey conducted by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), report UNB and BSS.

The briefing was arranged at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to present the economic analysis of the country’s Covid-19 period with statistics of various sectors.

Kaikaus said the government provided supports to the vulnerable groups to maintain their life and livelihood during the period.

He said the percentage of relief recipient households is higher than the poverty rate of 20.5 per cent of the pre-Covid period.

“So, the financial condition of the vulnerable groups has not deteriorated,” he added.

“The target to provide relief assistance to the lower income groups was successful as 95 per cent receivers said their average monthly income was less than Tk 20,000,” the principal secretary said.

The principal secretary said although the impact of the COVID-19 was negative on the country but the country’s agriculture sector was not affected by it.

Kaikaus also said that the country’s economy is bouncing back quickly from the pandemic related impact, backed by different policy supports of the government.

In this context, he pointed out 21 stimulus packages of total Tk 1.13 trillion (which is 4.03pc of GDP) announced by the government to revive the economic activities offsetting the Covid-19 fallout.

Mentioning the details about the packages, the principal secretary said, “Unless the virus will take us to any unfortunate situation further, we’ll soon return to the development trend again due to our ongoing activities.”

Kaikaus said the government did not show any negligence in taking action against corruption and irregularities particularly in the health sector.

“Whenever any anomaly came to notice, the law enforcement agencies or other government agencies or the Health Service Division took actions accordingly. The accused were arrested, cases were filed against them and they were brought to the book,” he added.

Noting that once there was a severe crisis of PPEs, he said there is no such crisis now as the government has taken all necessary measures.

Dr Kaikaus said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself is overseeing the matter of getting Covid vaccine soon after it will be available in the market.

“The government has already designed a plan over how to collect the vaccine,” he added.

In reply to a question, he said there was no liquidity crisis in the banking sector as adequate money is there.

Secretary of Statistics and Informatics Division Mohammad Yamin Chowdhury and BBS Director General Mohammad Tajul Islam were present at the briefing.

Earlier, the government had enforced general holidays from March 26 to check the spread of COVID-19 and subsequently the holidays were extended for 66 days in phases. After the completion of general holidays, the wheels of the economy again have started to roll on.

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