The Financial Express

Reopening after botched lockdown will aggravate coronavirus crisis: Mansur

| Updated: June 01, 2020 17:55:12

Ahsan H Mansur, executive director of Policy Research Institute, is seen in the image. — FE Photo Ahsan H Mansur, executive director of Policy Research Institute, is seen in the image. — FE Photo

Economic researcher Ahsan H Mansur has warned of socioeconomic instability and an eroding public trust in the government as Bangladesh is set to reopen offices and resume public transport system after a shutdown over the coronavirus outbreak, bdnews24.com reports.

“No matter how hard the government tries, the economy cannot be restarted amid this messy situation. It’s impossible,” he told the news agency on Saturday.

The executive director of Policy Research Institute slated the government for its “failure” to properly enforce the lockdown.

“We had four months. It’s not a short time. And what have we done? We’ve been on a two-month holiday in the name of lockdown. Have we been able to keep anything closed?” he asked.

“I think it’s a big failure of the government. The government must take responsibility for this failure,” the researcher said.

He blamed the rich for “fleeing for their lives after spreading the virus by reopening the garment factories and shopping malls”.

“The others, 99.99 per cent of the population, are fighting with death every moment,” he said.

Mansur said the factories reopened as the owners had been saying they had orders to deliver.

“But we exported garments worth only $400 million in April. Now see what a disaster we have brought upon ourselves for some money. All the people are paying for it,” he said.

He pointed out that the restarting of the economy will not be effective as fear among the workers will affect production, entrepreneurs will not have enough money for investment and finally, people will not be able to purchase products.

“Where will they get the money? Everything has been on a halt for months. It won’t be possible to restart even half the economy,” Mansur, the chairman of BRAC Bank, said.

“More pressure will mount on the government. Overall, we are facing a catastrophe,” he said.

“And the most unfortunate thing is happening now. The capable people will flee the country. Those unable to leave will have to stay here and die!”

Mansur believes the situation will not improve before March next year.

“And if it goes on like this, the economy will face a big damage. We may be able to recoup the economic losses in three to five years, but how will we compensate for the loss of lives?” he asked.

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