By: Swadesh Roy
It is tough to predict, like other countries of the world, what will be the situation of the economy of Bangladesh after the corona math, for it is still uncertain to know how long corona pandemic will continue in the world. Besides, some scientists forecast, the second wave of corona will hit the world, and with such considerations, another thing is obvious, the world will have to continue with corona for a long time. In the meantime, some South-East Asian countries have already started their regular works maintaining many limitations and taking more new measures.
What may come in the fate of Bangladesh, a new start have to be initialized from the coming mid-June. The present situation of corona in Bangladesh is at its peak, and the Corona statisticians are predicting the downslide of it will start from the third week of May. So, normal life has to be started from mid-June having with many corona patients’ death toll, limitations, and more new measures.
When Bangladesh will start its limited normal work in the industrial and limited-service sectors, both the sectors will be heavily wounded. In Bangladesh, one of the main industries, garments, is already being an affected sector, which has lost lots of its good’s orders from the buyers. Not only this, when it will start the operation, operating smoothly will be hampered sometimes by many new corona patients. At the same time, West will start with new measures and their market will be partially ready for purchasing autumn and Christmas clothes. Eventually, Bangladesh will get these two orders of the garments, basically, the winter with Christmas order is always big for Bangladesh garments industries. We hope that Bangladesh will fully able to take the winter with Christmas and New Year’s order. So, if Bangladesh becomes capable to supply the winter with Christmas and New Year’s garments, the loss of the garments sector by the hit of the corona will stand at 30% so far. The shoe and other leather goods sectors scenario will be the same. On the other hand, medicine sector is more likely to add some more for another year, because our medicine like paracetamol and some antiviral will get adequate market in many African countries. Dr. Atiur Rahman, the former governor of Bangladesh Central Bank, has forecasted in his comment that the industrial sector will lose 30%. Therefore, it sufficiently informs that, like the garments sector, all other industries will make a loss of utmost 30%. It may conclude clearly, the industrial sector will add 30% less than the previous year’s GDP.
After the corona effect, the government has to invest more in the service sector where a huge number of people will access the security service of the government. Moreover, the Government has to provide more security service for a huge number of the lower middle class at least for six months to one year. Along with this, Bangladesh has a permanent burden of Rohingya refugees. After this corona effect, the West and particularly, UNHCR are more unlikely to continue with their supports for the Rohingya refugees, for corona will ruin many poor and disorganized countries’ economy like Pakistan, Afghanistan, and many African countries, which could engender a huge number of refugees in Australia, Canada, and European countries. With this consequence, the duties and fund of UNHR will be disbursed in more new areas, and then, there will be a possibility to cut the aid for Rohingya refugees. The shape of the service sectors in the GDP will be 50% less than the previous year.
Having these grey areas, the main light in the economy of Bangladesh is the agriculture sector. The government of Bangladesh is successful to continue the agriculture sector even in this COVID-19 affected time. So, it is clear that the agriculture sector is not a wounded sector by corona. In Bangladesh, agriculture adds 15% in the GDP which is 2.53% of the GDP. This year government has given more emphasis on the agriculture sector. Besides, two or three crops like Boro rice, Potato, and Corn which have been harvested from February to May resulted bumper production. On the other hand, the government has emphasized on some other agriculture products in the village areas like cattle and fishes for overcoming this corona crisis. The expectation says it will add at least .50% in the total GDP.
Corona pandemic has already changed the world economic structure and thinking. So, the whole world will invest more in the health and education sector. Not only the government but also many private entrepreneurs will invest in the health and education sector. Simultaneously, world monetary organizations will allocate more funds for the health and education sector. Bangladesh will also get it and already have got some commitments from Asian Development Bank (ADB) and others. That’s why; more foreign loan will be added in the Bangladeshi economy that will add more value in the GDP.
Another main source of income in the Bangladeshi economy is foreign remittance which is gotten through the overseas labors. Corona pandemic will squeeze the job market all over the world. But in this bad situation of the job market, most of the overseas labors of Bangladesh will continue their jobs like the recession time of 2009, for most of the labor of Bangladesh are utility labor, which are necessary for any circumstances. Therefore, Bangladesh will not lose the remittance from overseas labor.
In conclusion, now it is clear that in the next fiscal year Bangladesh will get 3% of the GDP from the agriculture sector and industrial sector will lose only 30%. Service sector will lose 50% but overseas remittance will continue its flow like previous year. Besides, Bangladesh will be successful to maintain their strong internal market after pulling out the lockdown. Because, it is the market of 170 million people. Moreover, Bangladesh government has given incentives BDT 800 Billion in various sectors in the meantime. It will increase BDT 1000 Billion and more. Besides, Bangladesh government has eased the bank loans for the small industries and vendors, which is a big stimulation for the economy. Given this context, we can conclude that having 3% from agriculture sector, Bangladesh will get another 2.50% to 3% from all other industrial business, infrastructure investment and others. That’s why, the economy of Bangladesh will not ruin after or having this corona pandemic. Rather, it will continue in a stable position with 5.50% or 6% GDP. (The writer is a Senior Journalist, Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is a highest state award winning journalist and can be reached at [email protected])