51pc households’ earnings plunge to zero due to COVID-19 | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 10, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:42 AM, June 10, 2020

51pc households’ earnings plunge to zero due to COVID-19

Brac survey finds

Earnings of 51 per cent households in the country plunged to zero while a massive 95 per cent people suffered losses in income due to the coronavirus outbreak, a recent study of Brac found.

The study, published yesterday, suggests although daily wage earners have slowly started to regain their livelihood, many of these people and their families will still need support for at least three more months to recover from the setback posed by the pandemic.

The world's largest non-governmental organisation has recently conducted a survey to get an insight into the overall sense of public awareness about the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic impact in Bangladesh.

A total of 2,317 respondents, of which 68 per cent from rural areas and 32 per cent from urban, from different socio-economic backgrounds in 64 districts joined the survey conducted from May 9 to 13.

Around 62 per cent of low-income wage earners lost their work opportunities after the public holiday was declared in late March.

The findings of the perception survey titled 'COVID-19 awareness and economic impact' were revealed at a digitally organised press conference.

Brac Senior Director Shameran Abed accredited the role of MFIs in reaching cash assistance to vulnerable people and enterprises.

"Getting money to people through banks is challenging since banks lack capacity. A new mechanism is needed and the mobile banking system is already delivering," Shameran said.

The study also suggests that the next plan of actions should focus on getting the economy back on its feet.

Suggestions to tackle the crisis also include strict introduction of a 'pro-poor' lens to review and implement the recovery and rehabilitation plans.

Average monthly household income of the respondents was Tk 24,565 before the public holidays, but that declined to Tk 7,096 in May.

Average income of women-headed households declined 80 per cent whereas men-headed households' 75 per cent.

On an average, 16 per cent of overall households reported that they had food only to survive for 1-3 days, while 3 per cent of the households did not have any food during the survey time.

The survey also found 58 per cent of respondents think that there was an increase in violence against women as poverty was intensified by the pandemic.

Sudipto Mukherjee, resident representative of UNDP Bangladesh, and Abul Kalam Azad, former principal coordinator for SDGs at the Prime Minister's Office, also took part in the event.


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