Govt showed no laxity in taking action against irregularities: Principal Secy

The government shows no negligence in taking action against corruption and irregularities particularly in the health sector, Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus said Thursday.


“Whenever any news (of irregularity) surfaces, the government has not hesitated to take immediate action against it … No laxity has been shown in taking action against anomalies,” he said at a press briefing while replying to a question over irregularities in the health sector.


The briefing was arranged at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to raise the economic analysis of the country’s Covid-19 period with statistics of various sectors.


Kaikaus said whenever any anomaly came to notice, the law enforcement agencies or other government agencies or the Health Service Division has taken actions accordingly. The accused were arrested, cases were filed against them and they were brought to the book, he added.


Noting that once there was a severe crisis of PPEs, he said there is no such crisis now as the government has taken all necessary measures.


Dr Kaikaus said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself is overseeing the matter of getting Covid vaccine soon after it will be available in the market. The government has already designed a plan over how to collect the vaccine, he added.


In reply to a question, he said there was no liquidity crisis in the banking sector as adequate money is there.


Placing the Covid period economic analysis, the Principal Secretary said Bangladesh will soon turn around the development trend again due to the government’s ongoing activities unless the Covid-19 does not aggravate the situation further.


At the briefing, he raised 21 stimulus packages of total Tk 112,633 crore (which is 4.03pc of GDP) announced by the government to revive the economic activities offsetting the Covid-19 fallout as well as the report of a perception survey conducted by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).


He said the government provided supports to the vulnerable groups to maintain their life and livelihood during the Covid period.


According to the findings of the ‘Covid-19 Bangladesh: Perception Survey over Impacts on Livelihood’, one-fifth households (21.33 percent) received government reliefs and assistance during the Covid period (from March to August last), which is higher the poverty rate of 20.5 percent of the pre-Covid period. So, the financial condition of the vulnerable groups has not deteriorated, he added.


The government targets to provide relief assistance to the lower income groups was a success as 95 percent receivers said their average monthly income was less than Tk 20,000, he said.


The Principal Secretary said the average monthly income of each household was Tk 19,425 in March which came down to Tk 15,492 in August. So, the average household income declined by 20.24 percent due to Covid-19 fallout, as per the survey.


But the interesting matter is that the household expenditure also fell by 6.14 percent during the period. The average expenditures of a family were Tk 15,403 in March which came down to Tk 14,119 in August, the survey found.


The survey findings showed that some two-thirds (68.39 pc) of the families went through financial problems from April to July 2020 due to Covid-19 outbreak.


The day labourers were 8 percent in March, which came down to 4 percent in July and again jumped to 7.5 percent in September, but the percentage of the agriculture-dependent households remained unchanged at 10 percent between March and July.


The percentage of businessmen declined 10 percent in July from 17 percent in March. But it increased to 17 percent in September, according to the survey.


He said that the Covid-19 has had no adverse impact on the agriculture sector according to the study.


BBS carried out the telephone-based survey on randomly selected 2,040 mobile numbers of four operators. Some 48.48 percent (989 persons) responded to the survey questions during the weeklong survey conducted from September 13 to 19.


Dr Ahmad Kaikaus said it was a valid survey, which is scientifically accepted.


Mentioning the details about the 21 stimulus packages, the Principal Secretary said, “Unless the virus will take us to any unfortunate situation further, we’ll soon return to the development trend again due to our ongoing activities.”


Dr Kaikaus said Bangladesh can be thought as a proud nation as the situation has been created to return to the pre-Covid period situation unlike many developed countries.


Secretary of Statistics and Informatics Division Mohammad Yamin Chowdhury and BBS Director General Mohammad Tajul Islam were present at the briefing.


Source: United News of Bangladesh