Coronavirus Fallout

Saving people now top priority: Kamal

Staff correspondent

1 April, 2020 12:00 AM printer

The government’s highest priority at the moment is to take necessary steps to save people and economy from the impacts of coronavirus pandemic, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said Tuesday. 

“Bangladesh is not immune to negative impacts of coronavirus. At this moment, our main priority is to protect people from the deadly disease and provide food for the marginalised,” he said.  The finance minister made the comments at a meeting with secretaries of his ministry at his residence to assess potential impacts of the pandemic and find a solution, says a ministry release.

Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir, Finance Secretary Abdur Rouf Talukder, NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, Financial Institution Division Secretary Md Ashadul Islam and Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Fatima Yasmin joined the meeting.

“We’ve to face multifarious economic problem because of the deadly virus attack. But we still don’t know how many days the situation will continue,” Kamal told the top officials dealing with the country’s financial system.

The government is in contact with the development partners for getting budget support in case there is a financial crisis due to the uncertain situation, he said.  He feared that export earnings and remittance inflow may be affected while private investment may shrink further caused by the delay in mega infrastructure projects and in setting up the economic zones.

At the same time, service sector especially businesses of hotel and restaurants, transport and aviation, and the share market may feel the pinch more. “We’re worried about our revenue earnings as well,” he said.