The 8th Five-year Plan has set a number of strategies to fight the coronavirus, keep the country’s economy moving and attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Huge job losses at home and abroad amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic coupled with already declining jobs in recent years has shifted the plan’s main focus on the employment generation.The mid-term plan is aimed at gradually introducing a universal health system combining government and private efforts to fight against any future pandemic.
The 8th Five-year Plan stretching from FY21 to FY25 was approved on December 29 last after its preparation faced a delay because of the pandemic and accommodation of coronavirus emergencies in it.
“The plan formulation got delayed mainly because of the coronavirus crisis. The preparation of documents was disrupted by the pandemic while it was also very important to include strategies for economic recovery from the crisis,” said Dr Shamsul Alam, Member (Senior Secretary) of the General Economics Division (GED) at the Planning Commission.
The government aims to create 11.33 million jobs in the next five years, including over 3.2 million overseas ones. The planned economic zones across the country and self-employment efforts are expected to pay off to this end.
Alongside achieving a higher GDP growth, it is also expected to raise the growth’s contribution to cutting already prevailing and corona-induced poverty.
In view of this, the government seeks to fully implement its social security strategy and widen safety net schemes with an increased number of beneficiaries.The issue of stepping up economic reforms in the sectors that lag behind has been featured prominently in the plan in the post-crisis period.
Apart from the Covid-19 issue, the government also seeks to continue its planning policy in line with its development vision and electoral pledges.
Dr Alam said the government has no other plan except the 8th Five-year Plan for implementing SDGs. “It’ll be the main tool for implementation of SDGs as well.”
It will prepare a climate change and disaster resilient roadmap for sustainable development alongside ensuring sustainable use of natural resources and a planned urbanisation.
Important local institutions will be strengthened to transform the country into an upper middle-income country by 2031, also aligned with SDGs.
Special attention has been given to reducing regional inequality with a wider social safety net, more agro research and expansion services for increased agricultural productivity and income, credit, technology and marketing support to enhance non-farm income.
People of disadvantaged districts will be supported with information, training and credit to find jobs overseas.
In doing so, the government wants to reintroduce district-wise GDP calculation by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) to get a picture of the district-wise income and economic transformation.
For implementing the new plan, the government has to spend Tk 64.96 trillion, including over Tk 57 trillion from local resources.
The plan is expected to help raise the GDP growth to 8.51 percent by FY25 while cutting inflation to 4.8 percent to cut general poverty down to 15.6 percent and extreme poverty to 7.4 percent.