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Referring to issue of new poor in Bangladesh due to the pandemic, Mannan said various research firms like SANEM, PPRC and PRI are showing the number of new poor in between 10 to 50 million, but there is a large variation.

"Anyway, we'll have to address the issue and we'll have to sharpen our instruments to address the issue. We admit it and we’re committed intellectually, morally and in all possible ways to address the issue," he said.

Mentioning that the country is now moving forward riding a tripod which consists of agriculture, exports and inward remittances, the minister said the inward remittances of those are now playing the vital role where 2 per cent cash incentives provided by the government is now paying off.

Turning to the quality of data of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), he said they are trying to improve the quality of data of the bureau.

He said efforts will be there in the coming days to further improve the ease of doing business index.

MA Mannan further said there is an existence of a huge informal sector in the country and that sector should have to be brought under a system.

He suggested that the revenue board offices should have to be expanded up to upazila level as there are many growing eligible enterprises which could be brought under the tax net.

To address the inequalities, the minister said, the government has no miracle, but there are of course some ways to reduce the pain. "The government is trying to reduce that pain more at the bottom line as inequality has increased in the upper line."

He noted that the "wonder of wonders" over the last 12 and a half years of the government was ensuring almost 100 per cent electricity to the households which is also playing a vital role in addressing poverty.

FBCCI president Md Jashim Uddin said the country is still going through the pandemic where the utmost priority should be saving lives and then maintaining the livelihood.

"Vaccination is very important as the whole world, especially Europe and America, is now moving fast with vaccination. If we can't keep up the pace, then we'll fall into trouble, and our exports will get stopped," he said.

Executive director of RAPID Abu Eusuf presented the Keynote paper. ERF president Sharmeen Rinvy presided the event while ERF general secretary SM Rashidul Islam moderated it.

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