COVID-19: Tk 10,000 cr proposed to meet emergencies

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Dhaka, June 11: The government has proposed an amount of Tk 10,000 crore to meet emergency requirements caused by COVID-19   saying it will do whatever is needed to address the pandemic.“To fulfill emergency requirements, I propose to allocate Tk 10,000 crore as lumpsum,” Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal told Parliament on Thursday while placing the national budget for the fiscal year 2020-2021.

He said they have taken all-out measures to improve the health sector.

“To combat the COVID-19 pandemic, we are implementing different programmes worth Tk. 5,500 crore under the Health Services Division,” Minister Kamal said.

He said the government will do whatever is required to be done to address the pandemic.

To combat the COVID-19 outbreak, a special notification has been issued as an interim mechanism before budget to exempt all import duties and taxes on coronavirus-testing kits, masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) and on the raw materials required to locally produce hand sanitisers, masks and PPE, he said.

To further strengthen the health sector, the Finance Minister proposed reducing import duty on essential raw materials for locally producing autoclave machines used for sterilising medical instruments.

Amidst this unprecedented global crisis, Prime Minister Sheikh  Hasina announced a number of stimulus packages totalling over Tk. 1 lakh crore to stand by the poor and helpless people, keep the momentum in economic activities, and bring back pace in growth and development.

The Economist, a London-based weekly, has published on 2nd May 2020 a list of 66 emerging stable economies ranking them according to four measures of financial strengths, namely public debt as a percentage of GDP, total foreign debt, costs of borrowing and foreign exchange reserves, and Bangladesh was ranked 9th from the top.

Their estimate reflects Bangladesh’s stronger position compared to most other emerging countries, and “we thank Almighty Allah for that”.

In light of the comprehensive plan and strategies, the government has declared a number of stimulus packages to support the emergency healthcare services, to protect jobs and achieve smooth economic recovery.

The economic recovery packages declared so far has totalled Tk. 1,03,117 crore.

Bangladesh on Thursday saw another surge in COVID- 19 cases as the health authorities detected 3,187 more new patients in a span of 24 hours, taking the total number to 78,052.

Besides, the death toll from the virus now stands at 1,049 as fast the spreading disease claimed 37 more lives during the period.

Additional Director General of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Prof Dr Nasima Sultana came up with the disclosure at its daily online briefing.

A total of 15, 772 samples were tested in 55 coronavirus testing laboratories across the country, she added.

Bangladesh on Wednesday crossed the 1,000-mark in death toll within 91 days after recording the first death on March 11.

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