File photo: The word “Covid-19″is reflected in a drop on a syringe needle in this illustration taken November 9, 2020 Reuters

Covid-19 has also exposed the fragility of our health care sector, with the country simply unable to cope during the peaks

Agriculture Minister Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque mentioning, ahead of the upcoming budget to be tabled in the parliament on Thursday, that the government will prioritize the health and agriculture sectors the most in the budgetary allocations, is the correct approach at this juncture.

After all, the Covid-19 pandemic has displayed, more clearly than ever, that economic development and growth mean little when people are deprived of their most basic rights, such as health care and sustenance. The average Bangladeshi does not care if we are able to achieve double digit growth if he or she cannot put food on the table, or is unable to find the right health care facilities for their families when most needed.

Covid-19 has also exposed the fragility of our health care sector, with the country simply unable to cope during the peaks of the pandemic, resulting in untold suffering of the civilians who failed to gain access to health care facilities such as ICU beds or oxygen.

Furthermore, the pandemic has also increased the divide within the country, and has created millions of newly poor — people who were previously emancipated from the clutches of poverty. While economic opportunities are ever more difficult during the pandemic, the very least that can be done for all of those living in poverty is to ensure that they do not go hungry.

Therefore, while the government rightfully has to also balance its allocations to ensure that other sectors are also kept afloat, it is the agriculture and health sectors that deserve to receive the most attention, and we hope that the government, when finalizing its budget, will stick to its convictions.



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