Bangladesh unveils $8.5bn Covid-19 bailout
April 05 2020 10:51 PM
areal picture
An areal picture shows that boats are seen moored during a government-imposed shutdown as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus in Dhaka yesterday.


Bangladesh has announced an economic stimulus package worth over $8.5bn to cushion the shock of the global coronavirus pandemic “I hope our economy will rebound,” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said yesterday, adding that the country could reach close to its desired economic growth, “if the packages are implemented quickly.”
She rolled out the plan in a nationwide televised speech and said special measures are needed to support industries as most of them are likely to face a slump during the lockdown.
Nearly $3.54bn will be available for industries and service sectors, while another $2.53bn is being set aside for small and medium-sized businesses at a concessional interest rate.
More than half of the interest will be borne by the government to save industries and guard 
employment, Hasina said. 
The businesses will also be allowed lower interest rates for imported raw materials, as Hasina ordered a rise in the central bank’s fund to $5bn from the current $3.5bn.
Earlier, the prime minister allocated a fund worth about $590mn for Bangladesh’s export-oriented garment 
Owners will be allowed an interest free loan from the scheme to keep their factories running.
In addition to the stimulus, Hasina said, public expenditure will increase to feed and meet the basic needs of a huge number of daily wage labourers and people living in extreme poverty.
Bangladesh yesterday reported its ninth death from Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
There were 18 more infections, double the increase reported on Saturday, raising the total number of cases in the South Asian country to 88.
The rising rate of infection has prompted authorities to extend closures to include to all non-essential public and private offices until April 14, according to a Public Administration 
Ministry statement.
Public transport has also been on lockdown in the country since March 26 and private travel is strongly discouraged.
Vehicles transporting goods and other emergency services will remain out of the purview of this stoppage.
Meanwhile, the World Bank has approved a fast-track $100mn financing to help Bangladesh fight against the 
Covid-19 pandemic.
The World Bank project aims to help Bangladesh prevent, detect, and respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and strengthen its national systems for public health 
“This project will support the implementation of Bangladesh’s national plan to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said 
the bank.
“It will help strengthen the country’s response by ensuring that effective surveillance and diagnostic systems are in place and that medical supplies, personal protective equipment, ventilators and isolation units are available in designated 

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