PM for ‘well-coordinated roadmap’ to face Covid crisis


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday stressed the need for formulating a “well-coordinated roadmap” and urged the United Nations (UN) to play a “catalytic role” to combat COVID-19 crisis as she placed a six-point proposal to this end, reports BSS.

“We need a well-coordinated roadmap to face COVID-19 crisis. The 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement, and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda can be our blueprint to overcome this crisis,” she said.

The premier added: “The UN must continue to play its catalytic role in this regard.”

Sheikh Hasina said this while addressing virtually a high-level event on “Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond” on the sidelines of the 75th UN General Assembly (UNGA) in the UN headquarters in New York.

The six-point proposal placed in the event by the Bangladesh premier are:

Firstly, the G-7, G-20, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, multilateral development banks (MDBs), and international financial institutions (IFIs) should scale up fiscal stimulus, concessional finance, and debt relief measures. The advanced economies must fulfil their 0.7% ODA commitment.

“Secondly, we need to divert more private finance and investment to the developing countries. We must leverage science, technology, and innovation for closing the digital divide,” she said.

In her third proposal, the prime minister said: “We need right policy steps for reversing the downward trend of remittances flow by helping the migrant workers during and in the post-COVID job market.”

Sheikh Hasina said fourthly the advanced economies must fulfil their unmet promises regarding duty-free, quota-free market access, technology support, and more accessible financing for developing countries.

In the fifth proposal, the premier said there must be new international support measures for the graduating LDCs to prevent any possible slide back due to the pandemic, at least till 2030.

“Finally, more vigorous efforts are required to finance climate actions and resilient recovery,” she said.

The premier, in her pre-recorded statement, also said Covid-19 has had a drastic impact on Bangladesh’s economy.

“For tackling this situation, we immediately announce a 13.25 billion-dollar stimulus package, equivalent to 4.03% of our GDP,” she said.

Apart from widening the regular social-safety net programmes, Sheikh Hasina said, the government provided financial support to more than 30 million people, including farmers, labourers, students, teachers, artistes and journalists, during this pandemic.

At the outset of her speech, the prime minister thanked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for convening this meeting.

Sheikh Hasina said the launching of the initiative with six focus areas of Financing for Development was very timely and Bangladesh co-led the Discussion Group-1 along with Egypt, Japan, and Spain.

“We feel it important now to translate our promises into actions,” she said.