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Reopening the economy

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Reopening the economy

  1. 1. Reopening the Economy: Strategies and Way Forward for Bangladesh
  2. 2. Executive Summary  Bangladesh is struggling to cope with the economic and public health damages inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic.  Even with one of the poorest testing rates in the regions, 168,645 cases and 2,151 deaths have been confirmed so far (8 July).  GDP Growth Rate projections have been reduced by more than 6 percentage points to 1.6% from 8.1%, due to the pandemic.  The government’s decision to loosen restrictions, at the end of May, sparked heated debates regarding the following question: What are the optimal ways of loosening restrictions that minimize public health damages while maximizing economic recovery?  LightCastle Partners attempts to answer that question by employing a 3-step plan that consists of:  Analyzing lockdown easing strategies that have been applied by other nations  Evaluating requirements for and obstructions to applying such strategies in Bangladesh  Applying LightCastle’s in-house frameworks to combat obstructions and implement globally used lockdown easing strategies  Specifically, LightCastle’s in-house framework ranks sectors for reopening based on Economic-, Industry-, Health-, and Safety-Related Criteria.  Healthcare ranks high on the scale, whereas RMG ranks Medium-to-High.  LightCastle also puts forth customized action plans for reopening sectors, based on rankings.  Frameworks and suggestions put forth may aid in balancing between maximizing economic activity and minimizing public health damages. 2
  3. 3. Contents 1. The Unfolding of the Crisis in Bangladesh 2. How can Nations Successfully Battle COVID-19? 3. Lockdown Easing Strategies Applied by Other Nations 4. Reopening Might Come at a Very High Cost 5. Applicable Strategies with Adaptations for Bangladesh 6. The Way Forward 3
  4. 4. 1. The Unfolding of the Crisis in Bangladesh Drastic Global Spread Causes Economic and Public Health Woes ● China publicly shared the genetic sequence of COVID-19 on 12 January 2020. 1 ● Within 2 weeks, additional 18 countries were infected. ● Confirmed Cases — 11,669,259 (8 July) ● Confirmed Deaths — 539,906 (8 July) ● Pandemic has also caused severe economic damages. ● Nations across the globe, many for the first time, have reported recessions. ● Nevertheless, policy makers are implementing, lockdown easing strategies to restore economic normalcy. Fig.1: Weekly COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in the World (11 Jan–8 July, Week: Mon–Sun). Source: WHO (COVID-19) Dashboard 4 - 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 - 200 400 600 800 1,000 1,200 1,400 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Deaths(Thousands) Cases(Thousands) Week No. in 2020 Covid-19 in the World: Weekly Cases & Deaths Cases Deaths
  5. 5. The Unfolding of the Crisis in Bangladesh Despite Surging Cases, Bangladesh Relaxes Lockdown to Salvage Livelihood ● First 3 known cases were confirmed by the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control And Research (IEDCR) on 8 March 2020. ● Confirmed Cases — 168,645 (8 July) ● Confirmed Deaths — 2,151 (8 July) ● At the end of March, the government announced a 10–day ban on travel.4 ● The ban was initially extended till 11 April. ● A lockdown was announced, which later extended until 30 May.5 ● Public and private offices were allowed to open on limited scale after Eid Holiday. ● Starting May 31, restrictions on travel were lifted to allow people to travel during and after Eid. 6 ● The announcement came at a time when cases and deaths continued to surge daily. 5 Fig.2: Weekly COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Bangladesh (8 Mar–8 July, Week: Mon–Sun.). Source: WHO (COVID-19) Dashboard - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 - 5 10 15 20 25 30 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Deaths(Hundreds) Cases(Thousands) Week No. in 2020 Covid-19 in Bangladesh: Weekly Cases & Deaths Cases Deaths Initial Extended Lockdown
  6. 6. The Unfolding of the Crisis in Bangladesh Government Announces Zoning System to Curb Transmission ● On June 6, the country was divided into 3 color zones, Red, Green, and Yellow, based on infections per 100,000 population.7 8 6 Table 1: Three colored zones for COVID-19 regulations in Bangladesh
  7. 7. The Unfolding of the Crisis in Bangladesh GDP Growth, Employment, Exports & Remittances to Tumble ● GDP Growth Rate Projections for FY 19-20 has been adjusted down to 1.6% from 8.1% due to the pandemic — a drop of +6 percentage points. ● The growth rate of 1.6% will be the lowest in 37 years. ● 6 months of the outbreak will lead to 900,000 job losses.10 ● Inward remittances might fall by ~22% in 2020.16 ● Export earnings of Bangladesh to fall short by 21% of the period’s target.17 ● Export orders worth USD 3 billion of RMG goods were canceled until 2 April 2020.18 7 1.6% GDP Growth Rate FY 19-20 June 20 Projection 900k More Job Losses after 6 mon. outbreak 22% Drop in Inward Remittance 21% Deficit in Export Earnings (vs. Target) 8.1% GDP Growth Rate FY 19-20 Oct 19 Projection USD 3Bn Cancelled RMG Orders until April 2020
  8. 8. 2. How can Nations Successfully Battle COVID-19? 2-Metric Model suggests Relaxed Restrictions for Bangladesh ● The opening of Economies can logically framed on 2 metrics: Mobility and COVID- 19 recovery rate. 23 ● For Bangladesh, where the number of internet users is only 90.05 million of the population, the mobility rate will be highly underestimated.24 ● Thus, Bangladesh should be under the high mobility and low recovery quadrant (Quadrant II). ● For countries like Bangladesh, relaxed restrictions and loosened lockdown measures are the most appropriate. ● In addition, Bangladesh must carefully weigh the reopening strategies adopted by different nations. 8 Fig. 3: The 2–Metric Model
  9. 9. 3. Lockdown Easing Strategies Applied by Other Nations 9 Deploying Tracing and Healthcare Technology ● More than 2 million Australians have used the Bluetooth-enabled COVIDSafe app that informs users of the past and present presence of COVID-positive users within 1.5m radius.26 ● In China, individuals can only leave the house with a green health pass. The color of the pass changes based on proximity with infection sources.30 Relaxing Restriction on Selected Sectors ● Australia relaxed restrictions on education institutions and elective surgeries, starting May. 26 ● In mid–May, the Italian government announced lifting of regional travel restrictions by June 3 to salvage the tourism industry.31 Stalwart Sanitization ● It is uncommon for individuals in Beijing to leave the house without a mask and a sanitizer. ● Likewise, hotels in Hong Kong have vigorously ramped up their sanitization efforts—rules mandate pre-shift temperature checks for staff in certain hotels. 30 Controlling Public Gatherings ● Germany has restarted their football league but has not permitted gatherings of more than 10 people yet. ● The same measures are also in place in Denmark, Austria, Italy, and France. Transforming Transportation ● Temperature scanners in Beijing subways have become commonplace and send off alarms if an entering commuter has a fever. 30
  10. 10. 4. Reopening Might Come at a Very High Cost Diligent Reopening Plan Critical for Economic Recovery ● Reopening plans will determine the type of economic recovery Bangladesh can achieve. ● This is critical given the dependence of 6 million Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) on the local economy. ● Plans should target a V-shaped economic recovery— where the economy bounces back rapidly to pre-pandemic growth rates. ● While pandemic was unexpected and disastrous, many nations emerged with sophisticated reopening strategies. ● Some of the strategies could be examined for application to Bangladesh. ● The socio-economic landscape, as well as the infrastructural deficiencies of the country, must be considered as well. 10 Image 1: Workers in Bangladesh. Source: The Business Standard GDP Time Pre-Corona Baseline Fig. 4: A V-shaped Post-Pandemic Recovery. Source: The Brookings Institute
  11. 11. 5. Applicable Strategies with Adaptations for Bangladesh 11Table 2: Lockdown Easing Strategies Employed in Different Nations with Requirements & Obstacles for Implementation in Bangladesh
  12. 12. Applicable Strategies with Adaptations for Bangladesh Table 3: Framework for Ranking Sectors for Reopening 12 LightCastle’s Framework Ranks Sectors Using Economic-, Industry- & Health-Related Criteria LightCastle has developed this framework for 2 critical purposes: prioritizing which sectors to reopen (high-ranking sectors in the case of another lockdown) and designing the timelines for reopening those sectors. Contribution to GDP Contribution to Employment Financial Demographic — Workforce Critical Industry? Export-Oriented Sector? Time-Sensitive Product/Service? Possibility of Remote Work? Possibility of Social Distancing Public Health Awareness Criteria Scale 0-10037 0-10037 0-10037 0-100 0-100 0-100 0-100 0-100 0-100 MechanismCriteria Type Economic & Labor Market Output- & Industry-Related Health- & Safety-Related Sector’s contribution as % of GDP in 2019 Workforce as % of Total Labor Force in 2019 GDP/Capita as % of Annual Median Wages in 2019 Critical Sectors, e.g., healthcare, receive higher scores Sectors that are export-oriented receive higher scores Sectors, with output at high risk of spoilage, receive higher scores Sectors, with high feasibility of remote work, receive lower scores Sectors, with ease of social distancing, receive higher scores Sectors, with high health awareness, receive higher scores
  13. 13. Applicable Strategies with Adaptations for Bangladesh Sectors that are Critical and yield High Socio-Economic Benefits rank Higher • Policy makers may even choose to assign weights to the criteria, based on the public health and socio-economic scenario. • In case of another lockdown, sectors which rank high, like healthcare, or medium-high like RMG, may be considered for reopening only with proper safety measures. 13 Fig. 5: Ranking of Sectors/Industries using LightCastle’s Framework Sector Ranking HighMediumLow Healthcare  Critical Sector  Time-Sensitive Service  Low Possibility of Remote Work  High Public Health Awareness, etc. RMG  High contribution to GDP  High contribution to Employment  Export-oriented Sector  Low Possibility of Remote Work  Medium Public Health Awareness, etc. Theatres & Cinemas (Entertainment)  Relatively Low Economic Contribution  Not Critical Industry  Low Possibility of Social Distancing, etc.
  14. 14. Applicable Strategies with Adaptations for Bangladesh Sectors which Rank Higher can Reopen with Caution Sectors which rank high or medium can be opened using customized action plans. 14 Table 4: Customized Action Plans for Sectors, based on Ranking Sector Ranking Reopening Decision Customized Action Plan for Reopening High Yes, with caution Proper Social Distancing Guidelines Strict Hygiene Compliance Dedicated Transportation for Employees Regular Public Health Awareness Yes, with cautionMedium Reopening only critical subsectors Social Distancing, if possible Regular Public Health Awareness & Strict Hygiene Compliance Low Best if avoided or limited Reopening only critical subsectors Pilot Test Reopening Automate processes to avoid transmission Rigorous Social Distancing and Hygiene Compliance
  15. 15. Applicable Strategies with Adaptations for Bangladesh Well-Publicized Health Campaigns Play Critical Role in Curbing Infection ● Partnerships between private sector and the public sector players would be key in success. ● Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies and advertising firms could be considered as private sector partners. ● Well-defined guidelines for maintaining health and hygiene must be pronounced in public spaces and transportation systems. Targeted Isolation to Break the Chain of Transmission ● The use of the zoning system, if adhered to properly, may be a practical way to relax restrictions while isolating individuals. ● It will also be key to enforce tougher isolation restrictions for incoming international travelers. 15 Image 2: Disinfectant Station in Dhaka. Source: Reuters
  16. 16. Applicable Strategies with Adaptations for Bangladesh Private Public Partnerships to Compensate for Poor Healthcare Infrastructure ● Robust Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in the healthcare ecosystem will be critical in increasing recovery rates and curbing transmission. ● The launch of Telemedicine in mid-May and a beta version tracer app in early June were a promising start. ● The healthcare system in Bangladesh suffers from a massive ventilator shortage. ● Imports for ventilators, which have witnessed a spike due to the pandemic, have been delayed. ● 18 local companies are in the technical trails of manufacturing proto-type ventilators. ● Deliberate and concrete government support could accelerate local manufacturing of ventilators.40 Image 3: Telemedicine Application Developed by Pathao, Maya and Praava Health. Source: Pathao Health 16 Image 4: Walton Ventilator Prototypes. Source: The Daily Star
  17. 17. 5. Applicable Strategies with Adaptations for Bangladesh Targeted Isolation and Health Campaigns of Paramount Importance These action items may be effective in adapting some of the lockdown easing strategies, which have been applied in other nations, in Bangladesh. Table 5: Rigorous Adaptation Strategies for Lockdown Easing 17
  18. 18. 6. The Way Forward — No Substitute for Tactical Implementation  Reopening strategies will vary according to attributes of a country, and measures implemented in one nation cannot be exactly emulated in another.  Policy and business decision makers in Bangladesh may, however, utilize LightCastle’s 3-step plan of action that yields the following results: 18 STEP 1 STEP 2 STEP 3 Lockdown Easing Strategies commonly used by other countries are: • Relaxing Restrictions on Certain Sectors • Controlling Public Gatherings • Deploying Tracing & Healthcare Technology • Transforming Transportation • Stalwart Sanitization Bangladesh will face the following obstacles in implementing Strategies in Step 1: • High Population Density • Poor Healthcare System & Testing Rates • Low level of Compliance to and Awareness on Health & Hygiene • High Implementation Cost of Healthcare Technology LightCastle suggests the following action items to combat obstructions in Step 2: • Customized Frameworks to Rank Sectors for Reopening • Public Health and Hygiene Campaigns • Targeted Isolation • Public Private Partnerships in Healthcare Technology  The frameworks and customized plans of action suggested in this report may aid in maximizing economic recovery while minimizing public health damages.
  19. 19. ENDNOTES 1. WHO. (2020). WHO Timeline COVID -19 2. WHO. (2020). WHO Coronavirus Disease Dashboard. Updated July 8 2020. 3.WHO. (6 June 2020). COVID-19 Situation in the WHO South-East Asia Region 4. New Age. (2020). Govt imposes 10-day ban on public transports from March 26 5. GARDA WORLD. (2020). Bangladesh: Government extends nationwide lockdown until April 11 6. The Business Standard. (2020). Govt decides not to extend general holidays further 7. UNB. (2020). Parameters set for red, green and yellow zones 8. The Business Standard. (2020). Govt to divide country into red, yellow, and green zones 9. Daily Bangladesh. (2020). 13-point hygiene instructions for offices, factories 10. East Asia Forum. (2020). COVID-19 batters Bangladesh’s already struggling economy 11.The Business Standard. (2020). World Bank forecasts only 1.6% GDP growth for Bangladesh 12.The Business Standard. (2020). Stimulating employment, healthcare key to reviving coronavirus-affected economy: StanChart CEO 13. World Economic Forum. (2020). How Bangladesh’s leaders should respond to the economic threats of COVID-19 14. New Age. (2019). Poverty rate lowers to 20.5pc in 2018-19 15. LSE. (2020). Coronavirus and the Bangladesh economy: Navigating the global COVID-19 shutdown 16. The Financial Express. (2020). World Bank projects 22pc fall in remittances 17. The Financial Express. (2020). Export earnings witness 82.85pc negative growth in April 18. KPMG. (2020). Measures in response to Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) 19. The Financial Express. (2020). BD economy loses Tk 33b every day during shutdown: Study 20. Bangladesh Bank. (2020). DMD Circular No – 1/2020 Government Securities 21. Google. (2020). COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports 22. CoronaTracker. (2020). COVID-19 Reports 23. Visual Capitalist. (2020). The Road to Recovery: Which Economies are Reopening? 24. Future Startup. (2019). The Mobile And Internet Penetration Growth Continues, Internet’s Deployment Phase 25. World Bank Blogs. (2020). Reopening Malaysia’s economy in a new normal 26. The Financial Times. (2020). New Zealand and Australia open up after coronavirus success 27. Ministry of Health, New Zealand. (2020). COVID-19 - current cases 28. CNBC. (2020). ‘Like walking the tightrope’: Some European countries are starting to lift coronavirus lockdown measures 29. BBC. (2020). Coronavirus: How lockdown is being lifted across Europe 30. Conde Nast Traveler. (2020). These Countries Are Opening Back Up—And Cautiously Preparing for Domestic Travel 31. Al Jazeera English. (2020). The rushed easing of lockdown measures could devastate Italy 32. The Washington Post. (2020). Reopening too soon: Lessons from the deadly second wave of the 1918 flu pandemic 33. The Conversation. (2020). This is why Singapore’s coronavirus cases are growing: a look inside the dismal living conditions of migrant workers 34. DIRSI, LIRNEasia and Research ICT Africa. (2019). AfterAccess: ICT access and use in Asia and the Global South 35. The World Bank Data. (2020). Population Density 36. McKinsey & Company. (2020). How to restart national economies during the coronavirus crisis 37. Percentage to be removed for final score 38. The Atlantic. (2020). What’s Behind South Korea’s COVID-19 Exceptionalism? 39. Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) 40. The Dhaka Tribune. (2020). Covid-19: Whatever happened to importing ventilators?. 19
  20. 20. Disclaimer: All information contained herein is obtained by LightCastle from sources believed by it to be accurate and reliable. Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error as well as other factors, however, all information contained herein “As IS” without warranty of any kind. LightCastle adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses is of sufficient quality and from sources LightCastle considers to be reliable including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, LightCastle is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in preparing publications. Farah Hamud Khan - Senior Business Consultant & Project Manager (farah.khan@lightcastlebd.com) Nahian Hasnin - Business Analyst (nahian.hasnin@lightcastlebd.com) Eqra Mohammad Resalat Ohee - Trainee Consultant Md. Tanjim Morshed - Creative Design Associate LightCastle Partners Level 5, House 10/12, Road 1, Block B, Niketan Gulshan 1, Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh. Email: info@lightcastlebd.com Mobile: +88 01711 385988, +88 01747 353438 Web: www.lightcastlebd.com Data on Demand Platform: databd.co 20

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