PM Sheikh Hasina.
PM Sheikh Hasina. Photo: UNB

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said the national economy has made a turnaround with its desired pace due to the government's timely decision to give stimulus packages to various sectors and groups during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We've taken the step at the right time...we didn't think about how much money we've or what we've, we just thought about keeping our economy moving," she said.

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The prime minister said this while speaking at the weekly ECNEC meeting held at NEC auditorium. She attended it virtually from her official residence Gonobhaban.

Sheikh Hasina said the idea behind giving the various packages to different industrial sectors, including agriculture, SMEs, heavy industries and RMG sector, and other groups like the poor, day-labourers and distressed people during the pandemic period was to keep the wheels of the economy moving.

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"If we want to keep the wheels of the economy moving, we've to provide money to these sectors and groups...we've to transfer money to the hands of people," she said.

So far, the government has announced 21 stimulus packages worth USD 13.25 billion which is equivalent to 4.03 per cent of the country's total GDP.

Hasina mentioned that cash incentives to various groups of mass people and sectors have helped the overall economy rebound greatly.

She said the government has given utmost importance to the agriculture sector to keep its development for improving the production of food grains so that people do not suffer from food scarcity in any way. "And we've been able to maintain that."

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About the stimulus packages, the prime minister said the government has given incentives to businesspeople and they returned to their own businesses from the time they had started receiving those. "We didn't leave behind any sector in providing the stimulus packages...we've been able to reach out to all sorts of businesses; we've given them money, cash and incentives in time. This has enabled them to continue their businesses," she said. Hasina mentioned that the day-labourers also started getting their jobs back while the businesses started rolling out again. She said the government has given incentives to the agricultural sector directly and given it to SMEs, heavy industries, RMG sector and other industries phase by phase. As a result, she said, the economy has regained its pace.