Combating coronavirus: PM unveils new stimulus packages of Tk 67,750 cr

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday unveiled the government work plan to overcome the possible COVID-19 impact on the country’s economy, declaring an allocation of Tk 727.5 billion (Tk 72,750 crore) under a set of stimulus packages.

The prime minister came up with the announcement while addressing a press conference at Gono Bhaban this morning.

Bangladesh’s GDP growth may be stunted due to the coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said. The government will extend funds to combat the impact caused by the coronavirus situation, she also said.

The prime minister said this last package would result in adding an amount of additional Tk 12,750 crore equivalent to $1.5 billion to the EDF while its interest rate would simultaneously be brought down to 2 percent.

The existing EDF interest rate is 2.73 percent in line with current London Interbank Offered Rate-LIBOR + 1.5 percent.

The prime minister said under the fourth package, the central bank will introduce a new credit facility of Taka 5,000 crore as “Pre-shipment Credit Refinance Scheme” and its interest would be 7 percent.

In a nationwide televised address from her official Ganabhaban residence this morning, the premier said with the fresh allocations, the total amount of financial assistance would stand at Tk 72,750 crore, which is nearly 2.52 percent of GDP.
“I hope our economy will rebound and we could reach near the desired economic growth, if the stimulus packages, the previous and the fresh ones, could be quickly implemented,” she said. “And we’ll be able to go to close to the desired economic growth, Inshallah.”

She also put emphasis on giving special attention to local products beside the export-oriented sector to overcome the possible global and domestic economic crisis.

In this connection, the Prime Minister urged all to increase production and the use of local products.

On Thursday evening, the Prime Minister held a high-level meeting at Ganobhaban in this regard. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, PM’s Principal Secretary Ahmad Kaikaus, Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir, Finance Ministry Senior Secretary Abdur Rouf, and PMO Secretary Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah were present.