Bangladesh needs to put its 8th Five-Year Plan on hold for now and go for a two-year recovery plan to help the economy recoup the coronavirus losses, says Dr Selim Raihan, executive director of South Asian Network on Economic Modelling (SANEM).
He chalked out an eight-point recipe, which includes suspension of the LDC graduation target by at least three more years and pushing the UN sustainable development goal (SDG) target to 2035 from 2030 now.
The 8th Five-Year Plan should be delayed as the economy, hit by the coronavirus impacts, will need two years to return to December 2019 level, said Dr Raihan, who also teaches economics at Dhaka University.
He felt that the 8th FYP needs to be re-written as a large part of it seems to be irrelevant at this stage. The economist calls for devising fiscal stimulus packages and monetary policies to support the RMG sector, other export-oriented and domestic market-oriented industries and the SMEs.
"At this moment, the focus is only on the RMG, which is not helpful at all," he said.
Social protection programmes need to be extended for a vast number of marginalised, near-marginalised and a large section of suddenly vulnerable population, he said, calling for generating resources – domestic and external – to support the fiscal stimulus and eased monetary policy measures.