The Financial Express


Spin-off effect on lower income groups

Spin-off effect on lower income groups

Currently the Covid-19 pandemic has hit livelihood hardest. This terrible epidemic has not only claimed lives but also disrupted livelihood of marginal people. According to a joint statement by ILO, FAO, IFAD and WHO (2020), "The economic and social disruption caused by the pandemic is devastating: tens of millions of people are at risk of falling into extreme poverty, while the number of undernourished people, currently estimated at nearly 690 million, could increase by up to 132 million by the end of the 2020".

In four cases worldwide, namely health, livelihoods, food security and nutrition, the epidemic has done a great damage. The Covid-19 outbreak has also affected the economy of Bangladesh and the lower income groups have suffered the most.

The main objective of this piece is to assess the livelihood situation before and after the Covid-19 in Bangladesh. In this research, a total of 100 respondents of different professions and income groups from Dhaka city have been interviewed, covering 43 types of livelihood.


  1. COVID-19 and people's income: In every 100 people, 98 per cent think that the Covid-19 has affected their income. In contrast, only 2.0 per cent think that it has no impact on their income.
  2. Price Trend of Daily Commodities: When asked whether there has been any change in the market price of the daily commodities, all of every 100 people said they experienced price hike amid the Covid-19.
  3. Regular Source of Income : The respondents were asked about their regular source of income alongside food consumption to assess their monthly income before the Covid-19 and thereafter during the next five months of general holiday (March to July) 2020 . An attempt has been made to see how much a person could buy his basic food before and during the pandemic.

   Only 80 people out of 100 used to earn in the income range of Tk 10,000-20,000 before the pandemic. But only 9 people were able to do it during the Covid time. Similarly,the income range of 9 people was between Tk 20,000 and Tk 30,000. It came down to one during the corona period.

 4: Food Consumption: With Tk 5,000 to 10,000, out of every 100 people, 67 could buy rice, pulses, potato, salt, and oil before the pandemic, but now only 17 people can buy those kinds of stuff with that amount.

    In fact, the basic food consumption is mixed here. For example, a man working in a hotel may not be able to earn during Covid-19, but his owner has borne all his expenses.

  1. Savings, Assets and Lending: During the CovidD-19, 92 per cent out of 100 people withdrew their personal savings and 65 per cent borrowed money from others while 87 per cent did not sell any kind of assets.
  2. Impact on Livelihood: Out of every 100 people, 78 were in their own profession and 22 per cent changed their professions. Some people were working in the mosques, some were working in photo studios, and some were in the fruit business. Eight per cent became completely unemployed. On the other hand, 7.0 per cent people who previously used to work in agriculture fields later were earning their livelihood by driving rickshaws.
  3. Aid from govt and NGOs: 76 per cent people did not get any relief. 15 per cent got private sector support during the Covid-19. Only 3.0 people got both govt. and non-govt. support.


During the five-month general holiday announced by the government due to the Covid-19, its effect on livelihood has been presented here. Daily wage labourers and other informal sector workers are the worst hit. Overall this research has revealed the socio-economic backgrounds of the low-income groups in Dhaka city, especially their sources of income and expenditure alongside assessing their savings and assets status.

The Covid-19 is taking its toll on livelihoods, causing deaths, illnesses and economic loss. The Covid is affecting income of the people, especially the low-income groups. The study has found that 98 per cent people among 100 think that this pandemic has significantly affected their income.

Md. Toufique Hossain is finance & economics researcher, author of Bangladesh Share Market Looking Ahead after two big crashes. [email protected]

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