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Data gap held back timely incentive pack execution: Mannan

Economy 2022-01-29, 9:32pm

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MA Mannan, Planning Minister



Dhaka, Jan 29 - Planning Minister MA Mannan on Saturday said that lack of credible, authentic data held back the implementation of the government's pandemic stimulus package, delaying allocation for the marginal groups.

“We need to upgrade the household database accurately so that the government can make quick decisions for implementation of any kind of program like stimulus and other development activities,” he said.

The minister emphasized that the 100 percent success of the project depended on authentic information on the target group along with accessibility of researchers and relevant people who would work for them.

MA Mannan was speaking in a webinar titled ‘COVID-19 Stimulus Packages: An Analysis of Institutional Capacity, Transparency, and Accountability’,  organized by Asia Foundation, Research and Policy Integration for Development (RAPID) and the Economic Reporters’ Forum (ERF)

"Immediate response measures are more important in any emergency or crisis situation for a government than waiting for data collection," MA Mannan said.

In the Covid-19 pandemic case, the government has done just that. As in  other countries of the world, it has been done through the banking sector.

“There may have been some misunderstandings at first in identifying who would benefit from this. But later they were fixed. In most cases the beneficiary is properly identified. The main goal of the government is to solve the problem,” he added.

Other speakers at the webinar said incentive packages announced by the government have played a very effective role in tackling the effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the economy and aided its recovery.

They also said formal sector business groups have benefited more from the incentive packages though it was very essential for the informal sector.

One of the reasons they pointed out was institutional weakness. As a result, institutional capacity for effective implementation of crisis management initiatives needs to be enhanced along with reform policy.

In response, the planning minister said there is a shortage of skills both at the government and the society level. The government has taken various initiatives to address this deficit and regularly updates and verifies continually.

Dr. MA Razzaque, Chairman, RAPID, presented a study paper on the topic. He said the government's stimulus packages have certainly had a positive impact. Bangladesh was ranked 22nd among the top 53 economies in the world last December. This January, however, it has deteriorated to 29th.

He said despite some limitations Bangladesh has been praised by the world for tackling Covid-19 pandemic and keeping the economy in a positive growth track.

“The organized group, especially the export sector has got more benefits. They also have easy access to government policy makers. In comparison, medium, small and micro enterprises in the informal sector did not get it right. It is too late to reach the incentives in the tourism sector,” the study revealed.

Dr. Md. Kawser Ahmed, member (secretary) General Economic Division of the Planning Ministry, Dr. Md. Khairuzzaman, additional secretary, Ministry of Finance, also spoke at the webinar. Sharmeen Rinvy, ERF president presided over the function while its secretary SM Rashidul Islam, moderated the webinar.- UNB