by Serajul Islam Quadir in Dhaka,
A senior doctor has warned that up to 5 percent Bangladeshis will be the lucky ones to get anti-COVID-19 vaccines in Bangladesh, where experts fear that some 20 million workers are likely to get unemployed due to the deadly virus.
A B M Abdullah, the personal physician of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said that the vaccine must be effective and will be available some time middle of the next year globally.
“We may be able to provide 3 to 5 percent people of Bangladesh, a home of about 170 million people” he told a side-line virtual conference of the 75th United Nations’ General Assembly (UNGA) simultaneously held in Dhaka and New York, the headquarters of the United Nations.
He said it was important to invest more on research to find vaccines for such diseases.
Meanwhile, amid indications of a downward trend in new cases of infection, experts fear that as many as 20 million workers, mostly in Bangladesh’s ready-made garment sector, might be unemployed due to corona virus. The sector is the principal foreign exchange earner for this crowded country.
The world suffered a major blow in the economic front due to COVID-19 and Bangladesh had its share also, but performed better in recovering from the situation compared to many other developing countries.
The remarks came on September 30 during the conference organized on by Centre for Non-Resident Bangladeshis (NRB).
Mushreka Aroze Khan of the Centre for NRB in her key note paper said that between February and July this year, the country’s exports to the European Union declined by 5.56 percent.
Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister M.A. Momen said that the government has declared all together $12.1 billion stimulus package to protect a large number of vulnerable segments of the society as well as to boost up the export along with the overall economy despite the choppy circumstances.
“We are really a fortunate nation as we got a very pragmatic, dynamic and visionary far-sighted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the competent daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the nation, for taking steps to overcome the crisis,” Momen said.
M S Shekil Chowdhury, the NRB Chairperson, presided and moderated the conference on “Post Pandemic World Economy: Necessity of Togetherness.”
Guests, panelists and speakers in their deliberations highlighted the necessity of unity in the prevailing situation to fight COVID -19 and to revive Bangladesh’s economy.
The conference agreed that non-resident workers and UN peacekeepers must be utilized worldwide by providing them with adequate safety.
A business house of Bangladesh, TCBL Group, was the partner organization of the whole conference. The follow up session of the conference will be held in New York on December 30, 2020.
In her key note paper Mushreka said that migrant workers of Bangladesh must be given a “back-up support.”
“We provided full support to them as we are aware that the hard-earned remittances are the backbone of our economy after export earnings…. these two are the only sole source of foreign exchange, though we get handsome amount of cash by deploying Bangladeshis troopers in the UN peace keeping operations,” Momen, the Foreign Minister said.
He said, government has undertaken all measures to rehabilitate the migrant workers both inside and outside the country.
“They have been receiving full support to go back to their jobs abroad to help revive our economy as soon as possible.”
The participants included Economic Advisor to the premier Mashiur Rahman, Planning Minister M A Mannan, Health Minister Zahid Maleque, US-based physician Masudul Hassan, Secretary, Expatriate Welfare Ministry Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, David Kauper, a senior official of the US Embassy in Bangladesh, Emanul Haque, a noted economist from India, President of American Chamber in Bangladesh Syed Ershad Ahmed, Consul General in New York Sadia Faizunnessa and Victoria Perry, a senior official of New York Police Department.