The Great Depression of 1930 and global financial crisis of 2008 didn’t cause as much social and economic harm as Covid-19 did and doing. The economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic are unpredictable.
Hence, economic recovery depends on protecting public health on top.
The recycle or movement of money is shrinking day by day amid liquidity injections from the central bank. Experts are of the opinion that the effect would last for months, even years together. So the time has come to think of a paradigm shift in the economy. Covid-19 has sent us a message which we need to read with insight.
In Bangladesh, we are heavily concentrating on garments exports. Something ‘out of the box’ is required to compete in the world market – even if it utilizes the resources in full capacity. The concept of ‘creative economy’ can be used as a new strategy for the country in order to achieve sustainable economic development.
There is a need for the private sector to redefine its role in Bangladesh. There is a need to have proactive measures. We can see there are many associations in Bangladesh. But there is no proper alignment between each and there is a need for consortiums. Covid-19 is an opportunity for the private sector to reposition its role for development of economic landscape with some effective proposals to the government. From the perspective of the government, we think there is a need to work closely with the private sector within their purview.
We have to confess that the world economy is going to face a deep crisis. Bangladesh is a part of this. Thousands of expatriates returned to Bangladesh which will drop foreign remittances in coming days. Unemployment will rise soon. Returned wage earners may not find suitable work. In that case social chaos may rise if we can’t handle efficiently. Bangladesh export heavily depends on garments. Moreover, export earning is gradually shrinking because the coronavirus pandemic in the destination. It is still uncertain when the world will enter its previous stages. So the concept of ‘new normal’ comes to consideration. It means we need to adopt with the changing situation.
Now the question is, are we ready for this? There is not a straight forward answer to this. Coronavirus pandemic is not in our control. We are not even serious about it. According to the public health experts, we are ignoring the pandemic. As a result, we are falling into a deep trap. Other countries will not accept our migrant worker as well as export goods. So, first of all we need to show our firm determination that we are doing whatever possible for controlling the pandemic. We should increase the number of tests as much as possible. Those who are responsible for and have direct link with health related corruption, must be brought to book.
In this situation, there is a need to appoint an apex body by the government (with representatives from private and public sectors with other stakeholders from the central bank, trade unions, and experts) to study any viable action that can be taken for revival of economy.
The writer is banker & economic analyst.