Stimulus packages the federal government announced for financial recovery amid the COVID-19 outbreak had only limited employment impact as there was no reference to employment generation or protection as objectives in 56 per cent of the packages, according to a Centre for Policy Dialogue assessment.
How big is the stimulus packages is much lower weighed against that in almost all of the other countries in Asia and can be not adequate to meet the needs of men and women and financial sectors, it said in the analysis titled ‘employment implications of stimulus packages: challenges for recovery’.
How big is stimulus packages worth Tk 1,13,117 crore or 3.74 % of GDP may be the 23th among 31 Parts of asia, it said.
Based on the CPD, if full implementation of the stimulus packages is possible, it could cover only 75.8 lakh or 12 % of the country’s total employment.
So far, it were able to reach 50.5 lakh or 8 per cent of the full total employment of the united states, it said.
The findings of the assessment were revealed at a virtual national dialogue jointly organised by the CPD and OXFAM Bangladesh on Thursday.
‘Our analysis indicates that stimulus packages in Bangladesh had only limited employment impact. They were in a position to reach only a tiny share of the full total employment,’ CPD said at the programme.
Only the special fund for earnings support to export-oriented manufacturing industry staff out of nine packages has guidelines for pay-roll protection of workers.
Around 88 % of the packages does not have any guidelines for support for workers, it said.
‘The government should integrate employment problems with stimulus to make sure sustainable solution to employment issues that worsened amid the coronavirus outbreak,’ CPD distinguished fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya said.
Employment will also remain as the primary concern for Bangladesh after graduation from minimal developed country status and uplift the united states to a developed country status, he said.
Underscoring the need for genuine and updated data on unemployment, he said that existing definition of unemployment was obsolete and useless as official data showed unemployment rate of them costing only 4 % though one-third of the country’s labour force was unemployed.
He also said that the federal government should expand how big is the stimulus up to by another 2 % of gross domestic product taking the requirements of diversified groups such as youth, women, indigenous, physically challenged, small entrepreneurs and traders into consideration in the next phase of stimulus.
A lot more disaggregated approach along with efficient implementation can be necessary to
meet up with the needs of diversified groups in order that right persons get the fund in right time, he said.
In today's phase, there are a few weaknesses, including insufficient capacity, corruption and satisfactory campaign, in implementation of the stimulus packages, he added.
CPD distinguished fellow Mustafizur Rahman said that the allocation of stimulus packages had not been disbursed to sectors according to necessity of direct employment generation.
How big is stimulus can be not adequate due to insufficient fiscal space, he said.
Labour and employment secretary KM Abdus Salam said that lots of persons lost jobs amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The private sector combined with the government should come forward to create employment, he said.
CPD senior research fellow Towfiqul Islam Khan presented the findings of the assessment at the programme where CPD executive director Fahmida Khatun, Bangladesh Employers’ Federation president Kamran T Rahman, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies senior research fellow Nazneen Ahmed and Socialist Labour Front president Razequzzaman Ratan, amongst others, spoke at the function.