The government plans to set aside Tk10,000 crore in the coming 2021-22 fiscal year to meet expenses related to unanticipated emergencies due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal during his budget proposal on Thursday said: “In the last budget, we made a large allocation for the implementation of special activities under the Health Services Division to address the Covid-19 pandemic. Besides, we set aside Tk10,000 crore to meet the expenses related to unanticipated emergency requirements.”
However, despite a year has passed since its first outbreak, the Covid-19 pandemic is still ravaging the world, said the finance minister.
“Therefore, like the budget of the last year, we also make a commitment this year that the government will take all necessary measures to address the impact of the pandemic,” he said.
Besides, a number of plans have been undertaken to develop the health sector to address the impact of Covid-19, he said.
“The implementation of some of these projects has begun in the current fiscal year and will continue in the next financial year. Different projects are being implemented with the funding of US$ 600 million from the World Bank, US$ 100 million from the Asian Development Bank and US$ 100 million from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB),” he said.
The “Covid-19 Emergency Response and Pandemic Preparedness” project, supported by the World Bank and AIIB, is in progress, he furthered.
Purchase of vaccines, installation of oxygen lines, setting up of ICUs/CCUs and other activities are being taken up under the project, said the minister.
To enhance the country’s capacity to tackle the pandemic, improve the system of prevention, control and treatment of infectious diseases and strengthen the emergency preparedness capacity, the “COVID-19 Response Emergency Assistance” project is being implemented with support from ADB.
Purchase of ICU beds, ventilators and PCR machines and expansion of modern microbiology laboratories in 19 institutions and activities are being taken up under the project, the minister said.
“Steps have been taken to enhance capacity of private medical college hospitals, including the Department of Nursing and Midwifery, to deal with the pandemic. The process of urgently recruiting necessary manpower and hiring consultants on a contract basis is underway to ensure proper case management including expanding laboratory facilities and enhancing the skills of concerned health workers, doctors, nurses and technologists,” he said.