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Coronavirus Pandemic

Uncertainty appearing in every sector

Published : 07 Jun 2020 10:05 PM | Updated : 06 Sep 2020 12:47 AM

As the country is reeling under the deadly coronavirus pandemic, things could be really grim due to prolonged ferocity of the disease that crops up social unrest across several cities, including the capital Dhaka.

Violations of lockdown guidelines and health instructions and social unrest are being witnessed across the country marking a potentially steep rise in poverty, unemployment and bleak future.

Various studies suggest that the long-term stagnation of the corona can have devastating effects on employment, economy, mental health and social order.

According to a March 6 report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Bangladesh could lose more than Tk 25,670 crore in gross domestic product (GDP).

The report mentioned that, if the Corona situation gets worsened, the impact can be felt in five sectors of Bangladesh. The biggest loss will be in the trade and commerce sector, which is equivalent to Tk 9,690 crore. Besides, the potential loss will be Tk 5,355 crore in agriculture, Tk 4,335 crore in tourism, hotel, restaurant and A-related services, Tk 3,400 crore in manufacturing and construction and Tk 2,805 crore in transport.

Another report published on the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development's (BIGD) website on May 5 states that it is difficult to maintain lockdowns in relatively low-income countries compared to rich ones.

In the case of Bangladesh, for example, about 90 per cent of the people work in the informal sector and about fifteen per cent of the total population earn less than Tk 500 per day.

As a large part of the population is dependent on daily wages to run their families, drastic measures like lockdown can lead to even greater disasters at the individual and family level.

Professor of Economics at the North South University (NSU) Tofazzal Hossain explained, “In particular, the social security belt is also limited here. While rich nations have the ability to cope with the economic downturn caused by the lockdown,the big question is how long low- and middle-income countries can survive.”

“Within a month of the Corona attack in the country, terrible negative effects began to be felt across the country. There is inertia in every facet of the economy, in education, in business, and even in politics. And there is so much crisis in the medical sector” he said.

“Considering the situation, all activities will have to be normalized in compliance with social security in pursuit of livelihood. Various steps need to be taken to speed up business activities. Extensive incentives should be given in the field of agriculture. We have to bring radical change in the field of health. We have to bring diversity in the field of education,” he elaborated.

Economist Professor Mahbubullah Talukdar of BRAC University said that if one or two countries of the world are affected by floods or earthquakes or any other disaster, other powerful countries of the world stand by the affected country. But this time the situation is different as the COVID-19 pandemic has turned into a global problem, he added.

He said “All developed countries, including the United States, are affected today. It is very difficult for developed countries to pay attention to a particular country. Because everyone has limitations. In this case, Bangladesh can create a global public opinion for the creation of a global fund through the United Nations or any other organization.”

“The importance of SAARC should also be increased. An initiative was taken to form a fund through SAARC. Bangladesh also supported it. But it is not yet visible,” he continued.

BRAC study further illustrated that, if long-term lockdowns were maintained in developing countries like Bangladesh, unemployment and poverty could increase at an unbridled rate, along with the number of deaths due to starvation. This could lead to a situation where the number of economic deaths could be proportional to the number of deaths in the Corona epidemic.