Policy Café on Job Creation in the Era of COVID-19

Policy Café on Job Creation in the Era of COVID-19

CRI organized its 1st online Policy Café on ‘Job Creation in the Era of COVID-19’ on 24th June, 2020 between 8.30pm and 10.00pm. The event was live streamed on the social media outlets of CRI, Young Bangla, Bangla Tribune, Daily Ittefaq, Samakal, bdnews24, Generation, Oporajeyo Bangla and Sara Bangla.

The policy discussion was jointly hosted by Imran Ahmed, Head of Programs, Shakti Foundation and Syed Mafiz Kamal, Senior Policy Analyst, CRI. The objective of the policy conversation was to discuss how Bangladesh can tackle the corona induced job loss and provide conducive policy suggestions to the government.

The Discussants
The esteemed discussants of the Policy Café were-
• Ferdaus Ara Begum, CEO, BUILD
• Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF
• Sabbir Hasan Nasir, Executive Director, ACI Logistics
• Ahsan H. Mansur, Executive Director, Policy Research Institute
• Abul Kalam Azad, former SDG Coordinator, Prime Minister’s Office
• Syed Akhtar Mahmood, former Lead Private Sector Specialist, World Bank

The Discussion
Echoing the recommendation of focusing on labor intensive industry in the CRI study, Ahsan H. Mansur has said that two sectors will recover comparatively earlier if necessary policy actions are taken; labor intensive SME and RMG sector. He also appreciated the government’s stimulus package announcement of BDT 200 billion. However, he stressed on immediate disbursement of the stimulus package.

“If those entrepreneurs can reinitiate their business, employment will be catalyzed. They don’t even need a huge amount of money. Only BDT 1-2 million will suffice for them to start their activities. They will also be able to reinstate the employees who lost their jobs”.
-Ahsan H. Mansur

On what the government can do to make the agriculture, livestock, food processing, supply chain, light engineering sector more dynamic, Sabbir Hasan Nasir brought a private sector practitioner’s perspective in the conversation.

He said that due to corona induced job loss, many people are leaving urban areas and returning to rural areas. They will have only the agriculture sector to employ themselves and make living. They must be entitled to agriculture credits on easy terms and conditions.

On strategic disbursement of stimulus package and potential of foreign investment in Economic Zones, Syed Akhtar Mahmood highlighted the necessity of having logical framework and theory of change while formulating policies. He also stressed on capacity-gap of policy implementation and the need for strategic monitoring of stimulus package disbursement.

“The government must be vigilant of whether the incentive package reaches to the ones who are entitled to it”.
-Syed Akhtar Mahmood

On fast-tracking ‘Amar Gram Amar Shohor’ initiative and prioritizing the megaprojects with higher employment prospects, Abul Kalam Azad has said that the government has created 100 Economic Zones. Allocations have been made there for labor-intensive sectors. He also said that the main purpose of ‘Amar Gram, Amar Shohor’ initiative is to take the amenities of towns to villages.

On adequacy of stimulus package for MSME sector and short term initiative to generate employment, Ferdaus Ara Begum said that the government has to develop mechanisms to identify the real sufferer of corona induced economic setback and bring them under the benefit of stimulus package.

Discussant of the Policy Café, Fazlul Kader said the MSME sector is adversely affected by COVID-19 outbreak. Thus, PKSF is currently focusing on technology transfer, skill development and finance. PKSF also started a project for skill enhancement of micro enterprise entrepreneurs.

CRI Study: Bangladesh at Work: Job Creation and Inclusive Growth in the Era of COVID-19

Newspaper Coverage
The Daily Star: CRI Policy Cafe: Prioritise labour-intensive small entrepreneurs while disbursing incentive
Bangladesh Post: CRI policy cafe: Prioritise labour-intensive SMEs in pandemic incentive
দৈনিক জনকণ্ঠ: সিআরআই সংলাপ : শ্রমঘণ শিল্পের ক্ষুদ্র উদ্যোক্তাদের প্রণোদনায় অগ্রাধিকার দেয়া উচিত
সমকালঃ সিআরআই সংলাপ ’শ্রমঘন শিল্পের ক্ষুদ্র উদ্যোক্তাদের প্রণোদনায় অগ্রাধিকার দেয়া উচিত’
প্রথম আলোঃ এসএমই খাতের প্রণোদনায় শ্রমঘন শিল্পকে অগ্রাধিকার দেওয়ার তাগিদ
দৈনিক ইত্তেফাকঃ সিআরআই সংলাপ: শ্রমঘণ শিল্পের ক্ষুদ্র উদ্যোক্তাদের প্রণোদনায় অগ্রাধিকার দেয়া উচিত
বিডিনিউজটুয়েন্টিফোরডটকম: প্রণোদনায় শ্রমঘন শিল্পের ক্ষুদ্র উদ্যোক্তাদের অগ্রাধিকার দেওয়ার আহ্বান
Policy Café YouTube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOXrX_pC4UY