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DEVELOPMENT NEWS


WORKERS’ GROUPS IN BANGLADESH


Informal sector About 85 percent of the labor force – amounting to around 59 million people – are informal sector workers. Close to 70 percent of them are women. Lacking sick leave, insurance and savings, these individuals rely on a regular income for survival.


PHOTO: Sk Hassan Ali/Shutterstock.com


KEY ASPECTS OF BANGLADESH’S SOCIAL SAFETY NET PROGRAM


• Social protection allowances for widowed and distressed women expanded to cover all eligible people in 100 of the most poverty-stricken areas, with enrolments of around one million new beneficiaries.


• Cash transfers to low-income, informal sector workers, including day laborers, rickshaw pullers, as well as transport and hotel workers.


• Distribution of around 500,000 tons of rice and 100,000 wheat (free of charge) to low-income households.


• Subsidized, zero-cost credit to support factory worker salary payments.


• Low-cost loans to factories to preserve employment and support SMEs.


• Distribution of seeds to affected farmers and subsidies for fertilizer.


PHOTO: Sk Hassan Ali/Shutterstock.com


• Refinancing scheme to provide loans to traders and small farmers.


• Special honorariums to government doctors, nurses, and medical workers treating COVID-19 patients.


• Boosted health and life insurance for healthcare workers and others directly involved in fighting the pandemic.


Ready-made garment (RMG) sector The abrupt drop in global demand has led to job losses for more than one- quarter of Bangladesh’s four million garment workers. The majority of them went home without severance pay. Women comprise more than one-half of the RMG workers.


Returnee migrant workers Nearly one million Bangladesh nationals working abroad have had to return owing to the COVID-19 crisis in their host countries. It is likely that these workers will remain unemployed until the situation improves.


The loan is one of the latest fast-track approvals to support COVID-19 response efforts in developing countries.


Farm workers The agriculture sector employs about 25 million people whose livelihoods are at risk owing to closures and movement restrictions. Farmers are finding it difficult to store and move perishable foods to the marketplace – jeopardizing incomes and food security.


Source: Proposed Countercyclical Support Facility Loan People’s Republic of Bangladesh: COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support Program, Asian Development Bank, June 2020.


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PHOTO: Mamunur Rashid/Shutterstock.com


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