The government is keeping Tk10,000 crore in a bulk allocation in the budget for the fiscal year 2020-21 to deal with any special situation in the country related to the coronavirus.
The independent fund is additional to the regular allocation of Tk29,246 crore for the health sector.
A finance ministry official concerned said on Wednesday that it would not possible to say for sure how long the Covid-19 pandemic would last. If the situation worsened further, it might be necessary to immediately construct hospitals and intensive care units and to buy ventilation, support care equipment, coronavirus test kits and other tools.
If the coronavirus vaccine was invented, it would need to be imported urgently, he said, adding that coronavirus-based research would also be funded from this money.
Ministry officials have said the coverage of social safety net is being broadened, taking into account the needs of those who have been left out of job because of the coronavirus.
There will also be a programme to create jobs. Additional allocations are being made for food aid programmes under the Vulnerable Group Development and the Vulnerable Group Feeding. Nevertheless, this bulk allocation will be spent if there is an emergency to distribute additional relief owing to the pandemic impacts, they say.
In an interview with The Business Standard on Tuesday, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, too, said the government was laying utmost importance on the health sector.
He said all necessary measures would be taken throughout the financial year to keep people employed as before by tackling the effects of the coronavirus epidemic.
The government is also keeping Tk3,500 crore to pay the interest on an incentive package of Tk30,000 crore announced to supply the working capital to large industries and service sector and another package of Tk20,000 crore for the Small and Medium Enterprises sector.
In addition, the government is allocating Tk2,000 crore in the budget to subsidise the bank loan interest whose payment was postponed during the April-May period.
However, there will be no special allocation in the budget either to stop layoffs in the private sector or to rehabilitate the laid-off workers.
But, a special allocation of Tk2,500 crore is being made for the salaries of workers and employees of the government-owned Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation.