The Consumers' Association of Bangladesh (Cab) Chittagong has urged the government to boost its social security programme for the marginalised and low-income people.
"With the rise in coronary infections in the country, the lives of these poor people are at great risk. But the government has not announced any incentive package for these common people," says a press release of the association.
The government declared stimulus package for businesspeople affected by coronavirus at different levels.
Relief goods, rice at Tk10 per kg, cash distribution among the unemployed and elderly people, maternity allowance, and allowance for widows are very scarce compared to the demand.
Besides, the Trading Corporation Bangladesh (TCB)'s open market sale (OMS) programme for low-income populations is restricted to city areas only.
Cab also demands civic surveillance on the distribution of relief and incentives as there are an increasing number of allegations of irregularities, nepotism and corruption.
The association puts forth some short and long-term measures to overcome the losses due to the Covid-19, including food distribution among the ultra-poor till July 2020, budgetary allocation for social security programmes for non-formal sector workers, and extension of OMS programme to the district-upazila and union level
It also demands emergency loan (refundable) from the banks up to Tk10,000-20,000 with zero interest rate for the next six months to 3 crore people living below the poverty line.
Cab also calls for a ban on job cuts at all government-owned industries, factories, garments, offices.
It demands waiver of house rent, gas, water, electricity bill and concession benefits on holding tax of city corporations and income tax.
According to government data, 21.8 percent of the country's total population, 3.85 crore people, live below the poverty line.