It's 'loan package', not stimulus: BNP

It's 'loan package', not stimulus: BNP

BNP described the Prime Minister’s stimulus package of Tk72,750 crore as a package of loan, and said she ignored those involved in the informal sector by not announcing any grant for them.

“We could have said the Prime Minister’s response positive had she taken initiatives to resolve the main problem. There’s nothing (incentive package) for the common people who belong to the informal sector, the starving, working ones and the farmers,” he said.

The BNP leader further said, “It seems to me the stimulus package of Tk72,750 crore was given only to create a good impression among people with the size of the money. The fact is that the whole amount is nothing but loan. There's no grant from the government. It’s a loan package of Tk72,750.”

Fakhrul made the remarks through an online press briefing on the Prime Minister’s press conference.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced four new stimulus packages of Tk 67,750 crore to overcome the possible economic shock from the ongoing shutdown enforced due to the deadly COVID-19 outbreak. With the previously announced Tk 5,000 crore stimulus package, the amount of the whole package now stands at Tk 72,750 crore.

The announcement came from a press conference of the Prime Minister held at her official residence Ganobhaban.

Earlier on Saturday, BNP demanded the government form a special fund of Tk 87,000 crore to tackle the impacts of coronavirus on the country’s economy.

The party has proposed allocating Tk 61,000 crore for the 'short-term sector', Tk 18,000 crore for 'medium-term sector' and Tk 8,000 crore for 'unforeseen sector'.

Fakhrul said they urged the government to give a grant of Tk 15,000 crore for the poor and those hand to mouth. “We also called upon the government to raise allowances of the doctors and nurses and give them an incentive for the health sector. But the Prime Minister didn’t pay heed to it.”

He also said many poor people and day-labourers and those involved in the informal sector are passing through a critical time without any income and job. “Unfortunately, she (PM) didn’t say anything about the sector, let alone announcing any package for them.”

The BNP leader said the expatriate Bangladeshis who send huge remittance to the country have also been left out of the incentive package.

He alleged that the Prime Minister also completely neglected the health sector in terms of announcing stimulus package though this sector should now be modernised with necessary equipment and ventilators to provide proper treatment to the virus infected people.

The BNP leader said the government should go for a complete lockdown of the country to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus “I think a complete lockdown is now the only option, but the government can’t realise what a deadly situation the country is going to face. The number of cases doubled today (Sunday) than yesterday (Saturday).”

Referring to media reports, Fakhrul said people are not getting treatment at the country’s 87 percent hospitals for different diseases, but the government is not looking into the matter and taking any visible steps to resolve it

Trashing the allegations of the ruling party leaders that BNP leaders are not staying besides people, he said their party leaders and activists at all unions, villages and upazilas across the country are providing people food and other assistance and relief materials as per their ability.