The Institute of Chartered Secretaries of Bangladesh (ICSB) organized a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme on "COVID-19 and its impact on the National Economy” on May 30, 2020 on virtual platform.
Mohammad Sanaullah FCS, Immediate Past President and Chairman, Professional Development Committee of the Institute chaired the Session. Dr. M Masrur Reaz, Chairman of Policy Exchange (Former Senior Economist World Bank Group -IFC) presented the Keynote Paper on the subject.
Muzaffar Ahmed FCS, President of the Institute and Mohammad Bul Hassan FCS, Senior Vice President of the Institute were the discussants.
The keynote paper said that the world may lose a total of 195 million jobs (according to ILO) due to the COVID-19 effect. The growth rate of Bangladesh may range between 2 to 3 percent in 2020 and fiscal deficit is projected to be at 7.7%. He also mentioned that for each $1 million in foregone domestic demand in service sector, Bangladesh may lose 125 jobs as per World Bank (WB) report. It is estimated that the poverty will be doubled to 40%. Half of the SMEs had to completely halt their business operations during COVID lockdown. Besides, about half of the SMEs (46%) may need to lay off more than 50% of their staff in a bid to cut costs. He also mentioned that 2700 accessories/backward linkage, 100K transport, one third of general insurance premium which is linked with RMG eco-system will be affected. Lower interest rate and bank profitability will adversely impact the depositors as well as capital market. He also discussed in detail about the winds of change in corporate practices. In taking part discussion, Muzaffar Ahmed opined that the economy will be reshaped due to the COVID-19 effect. The order of corporate practices will change in post COVID period.
Accordingly, the professionals need to equip themselves to the market demand with proper knowledge and skills. He said that ICSB members will be benefited from such presentations made by Mr. Reaz with facts and figures. Most of the sectors have to reduce cost of the business to sustain post COVID new-normal situation. He also put emphasize on skilling and re-skilling of members in the upcoming days in order to sustain in the market. In taking part discussion Mr. Mohammad Bul Hassan thanked key note speaker for his elaborated presentation which will definitely help professionals to identify current and upcoming challenges that corporate sector and economy is going to face. The COVID-19, however, shows us the long standing inequality in health care system and basic services, financial products, digital economy as well as social securities of informal workers where we can work to improve. Another is communication through digital platform and work from home became as reality and in addition, people became technology friendly due to lockdown.
Mohammad Sanaullah mentioned that unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has caused destruction to global trade, business and education. The economic consequence is tough to handle as overall global supply chain has been disrupted. He has given more emphasized to develop members of the Institute to work under digital system. To make the corporate management more vibrant Chartered Secretaries should be acquainted adequate knowledge to perform secretarial jobs / management of company meetings like board, Committee and general meetings under digital platform. He also stated that Govt. has huge room for development of the country’s overall health care system. For doing so, effective and quality management of health sector is crucial along with the size of the health care budget. We hope government will support to develop the health and related infrastructure to tackle this pandemic. Perhaps, the lock down is not the ultimate solution for unlimited time for a country like Bangladesh. The virtual program ended with an interactive question and answer session where the Chairman, Keynote speaker and discussants answered various questions of the participants. Md. Nazrul Islam Chowdhury ACS, Member Secretary of Professional Development Sub Committee delivered vote of thanks on behalf of the Institute.
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