Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has announced five new financial packages amounting to Tk 32 billion to help low-income groups.
The incentive packages are aimed at helping the people affected by lockdown restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, reports bdnews24.com.
The government planned to increase the size of the financial package to meet the need to cushion the effects of the pandemic, Abdur Rouf Talukdar, secretary in the Finance Department, had previously said.
“These packages will continue until all 23 incentive packages are completely implemented. It will continue into next year as well. If needed, the government will announce more packages, the prime minister said,” he had said following the budget session.
Last year the government announced 23 financial packages totalling Tk 1.28 trillion. Among those packages, 16 packages of Tk 406.91 billion were allocated from the main budget. Almost 70 per cent of the packages have been implemented as of April 2021. With the addition of these five new packages, the total amount of assistance is now Tk 1.31 trillion.
The Bangladesh Bank has been implementing 6 of 23 financial packages, said Abdur Rouf.
“These (Bangladesh Bank packages) are worth Tk 900 billion, which form 70 percent of the entire package. The remaining 30 per cent, worth Tk 384.41 billion, is being implemented through budget allocation.”
The government will provide Tk 45 billion a year from the national budget as interest and subsidy of the financial packages implemented by the Bangladesh Bank, he said.
“Therefore, the packages are not completely done by Bangladesh Bank or forced on the banking sector; the government is sharing the burden as well by providing interest subsidies.”
Bangladesh has imposed a lockdown several times since the start of the pandemic last year in an effort to curb rising cases and deaths. The restrictions have had a significant impact on earnings for many, particularly the low-income working class. Many businesses are also struggling to deal with the regular closures and other barriers set up to handle the pandemic.