The Financial Express

SANEM welcomes govt’s financial package to address coronavirus crisis

FE ONLINE DESK | Published: April 07, 2020 16:08:08 | Updated: April 07, 2020 17:53:07

SANEM welcomes govt’s financial package to address coronavirus crisis

South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) has welcomed the government's financial package to address the crisis caused by the coronavirus.

“As we have suggested for the two-year economy recovery plan from SANEM, there are four things to keep in mind in the context of the forthcoming national budget,” said SANEM executive director Dr Selim Raihan in a written reaction to the stimulus package on Tuesday.

The four things suggested by SANEM are given below verbatim:

  1. This financial package requires a large allocation to the health sector, which is not mentioned in the announced financial package. It is necessary to increase the allocation in the health sector by many folds in the budget. Government needs to cut-down less important government spending to finance the increased allocation for the health sector.
  2. The tax-management and banking sectors need some much-needed and urgent reforms, which has long been neglected, in order to effectively arrange the money announced in this financial package. Now is the time to take some ‘politically feasible’ reforms and act against the vested interests in these two sectors.
  3. Care must be taken to ensure that the benefits of this financial package are not held in the hands of certain influential sectors and groups. In this case, it is necessary to make the financial package transparent and ensure transparency and accountability in implementing these policies.
  4. For the poor, the very poor, the marginalized population and the people who are suddenly vulnerable in the current situation, there is a need to significantly increase the size and coverage of social security programs and the creation of new types of social security programs. A large part of this large population is in the informal sector. But there is no emphasis on the informal sector in the announced financial package. According to past experiences, there are many gaps in the existing social security programs so that the fulfillment of the objectives of these programs is often hampered. Therefore, there is a need for a strong stance against corruption, and ensure transparency and accountability in the social security programmes.

Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced a total financial package of Tk 727.5 billion to overcome the possible economic shock from the ongoing shutdown enforced due to the deadly COVID-19 outbreak.


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