Different studies have revealed that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has pushed a large number of people under the poverty line who are creating barriers to implement ‘strict lockdown’ in the country, as they have to go outside to earn their bread and butter under any circumstances, even when restricting people inside their house considered to be the only option to contain the spread of the deadly virus. So, keeping these groups of disadvantaged people inside by providing essential support viz. daily needs, foods and relief is the best way to implement any coronavirus protective measure.
In this light Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s initiative to provide stimulus packages worth Tk. 32 billion to the marginalised people is a timely and necessary step. We believe the packages would help poor people float some days and effectively restrict people’s movement during the upcoming lockdown, supposed to be imposed after Eid to control the third wave of the pandemic. Besides providing cash to the worst victims of countrywide lockdown, some schemes of these packages are expected to ease public sufferings to some extent during this tough time.The announcement of these packages is a continuation of humanitarian and time-befitting decisions she has been taking on different times to save life and livelihood of her beloved countrymen since the beginning of the pandemic. While most of the large economies around the globe had been struggling to balance between life and livelihood, Bangladesh managed to keep both economic damage and casualties of the pandemic under control so far, thanks to the prudent leadership of our PM.
However, we have earlier witnessed that people do not get as much benefit as expected, just because of the poor implantation of these packages. Many of the local agents, given responsibilities to deliver PM’s memento of love to doorsteps of affected people, got involved in irregularities and embezzled money provided by PMs. Moreover, there are allegations that entrepreneurs earlier found it difficult to get loans for different reasons and the scope for small and medium entrepreneurs to get a loan was little.
We hope that the government has examined the flaws that hindered cent per cent success of previously declared stimulus packages and will go in the right direction this time to benefit low-income earners and small businesses.