Speakers for quickly bringing country’s people under COVID-19 vaccination
DHAKA, June 13, 2021 (BSS) – Speakers at a webinar today stressed the need for bringing the country’s people under COVID-19 vaccination quickly to save their lives and livelihood amid the pandemic as they said with the slow pace in vaccination, Bangladesh can lose its major export destinations.
They also put emphasis on further widening the tax net, facilitating private investment, further improvement in ease of doing business and ensuring quality government expenditure, especially in health, education, agriculture and in social safety nets.
They came up with such views in a webinar titled ‘Reflections on the Budget 2021-22’ organized jointly by the Economic Reporters’ Forum (ERF), Research Policy Integration for Development (RAPID) and The Asia Foundation (TAF) held in Zoom Platform today.
Planning Minister MA Mannan attended the event as the chief guest while FBCCI President Md. Jashim Uddin and BGMEA President Faruque Hassan joined the event as the guests of honor.
Chairman of RAPID Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque attended the webinar as discussant while Executive Director of RAPID Dr Abu Eusuf presented the Keynote paper.
ERF President Sharmeen Rinvy presided over the event while ERF General Secretary SM Rashidul Islam moderated it.
Echoing with the FBCCI President that the country’s exports might be affected if the people are not vaccinated in a speedy manner, the Planning Minister said : “Vaccine is a very important matter, there is no doubt that these vaccines should be brought into the country as soon as possible. If we can’t attain herd immunity, then our export destination will not come closer to us, rather those will go away,”
Mannan said he would also carry forward this message to the highest level of the government.
He said that by end and large the proposed budget for FY22 got acclaimed by the business community and the civil society as they termed it as business friendly. “It’s a good compliment,” he added.
Referring to the issue of creation of new poor in the country due to the pandemic, Mannan said various research firms like SANEM, PPRC, PRI are showing the number of new poor in the country in between one crore to five crore and there is a large variation.
“However, we’ll have to address the issue, we’ll have to sharpen our instruments to address the issue. We admit it and we are committed intellectually, morally and in all possible ways to address the issue,” he said, adding that the new poor are not forgotten.
Mentioning that the country is now moving forward riding on a tripod which consists of agriculture, exports and inward remittances, the Planning Minister said of those, inward remittances are now playing the vital role where 2 percent cash incentives provided by the government is now paying off.
Turning to the quality of data of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), he said that they are trying to improve the quality of data of the Bureau.
He said that efforts would be there in the coming days to further improve the ease of doing business index.
Mannan said that there is an existence of a huge informal sector in the country and that sector should have to be brought under a system.
He suggested that the revenue board offices should have to be expanded up to upazila level as there are many growing eligible enterprises which could be brought under the tax net.
To address the inequalities, the Planning Minister said that the government has no miracle, but there are of course some ways to reduce the pain. “The government is trying to reduce that pain more at the bottom line as inequality has increased in the upper line,” he added.
He noted that the “wonder of wonders” over the last 12 and a half years of the government was ensuring almost cent percent electricity to the households which is also playing a vital role in addressing poverty.