With an apprehension that Covid-19 can spread further anytime, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal proposed Tk 5,000 crore as block allocation in the next fiscal year to implement the emergency measures to combat the pandemic.
While presenting the proposed budget for the FY2022-2023 fiscal year, the finance minister said the government is laying emphasis on how to combat such a complex pandemic situation as the country experienced during Covid-19.
“To this end, the government is planning to develop the capacity to respond and control such pandemic quickly, conduct research in this sector and develop the institutional capacity, technical knowledge and skilled manpower to up-scale the overall capacity,” he said.
In the last two fiscal years, Kamal said a sufficient budget has been allocated to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to implement the important activities to combat COVID-19 and for the development of the health sector.
To meet any emergency expenditure, he said they earmarked Tk. 10 thousand crores as block allocation in the outgoing fiscal year.
“Although the infection of COVID-19 coronavirus has reduced drastically, the fear of its reappearance still persists as the outbreak of COVID-19 is still evident in many countries. Bearing in mind the COVID-19 related health hazards, we are also proposing a block allocation of Tk 5 thousand crores for the coming fiscal year,” the minister said.
He said some of the projects taken in the last fiscal year to combat COVID-19 will continue in the next fiscal year.
Kamal said COVID-19 Emergency Response and Pandemic Preparedness’ project is being implemented with support from the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and the ‘COVID-19 Response Emergency Assistance’ project is being implemented with the help of the Asian Development Bank.
“The Prime Minister has given the directives to establish a high-quality institute in the country for manufacturing all types of vaccines including that for coronavirus. Accordingly, the 100 percent state-owned Essential Drugs Company has taken steps to set up a state-of-the-art vaccine manufacturing plant at Gopalganj, with financial and technical assistance from the Asian Development Bank,” he mentioned.
The minister said they will eventually transform this plant into an international standard vaccine research and production center so that the country does not rely on overseas sources for vaccines.