Happy New Year 2021! For many of us, 2020 was a lost year as coping with the Covid-19 pandemic has been an enormous challenge. With about 60 million cases officially recorded across the world, over 1.5 million deaths and counting, the magnitude of socio-economic disruptions has been unprecedented. The new year begins with the hope that vaccination against coronavirus will soon mark a new phase of moving towards resuming normal activities that have now been affected for such a long time. The cover article of this issue of Policy Insights gives a thorough review of Bangladesh’s economy and its performance on multiple fronts amidst Covid-19 and offers several recommendations ensuring sound economic management while promoting inclusive growth. The recovery from economic slowdown can bring in new challenges, and dealing with these will require a careful review of existing macro, trade and investment related policies, among others.
This issue of Policy Insights also includes an article which assesses the impact of fiscal redistribution on tackling inequality. Simulation results show the importance of strong fiscal redistribution system through better tax compliance and administration, higher direct tax revenue and cash transfers in improving equity in Bangladesh.
Another article in this issue provides an overview of Bangladesh’s car market and the state of local automobile manufacturing. Drawing on international experiences, strategy for the automobile sector should follow emerging trends in the world market, must be harmonized with urban and national transport policies, and have a WTO compliant incentive structure going forward.
An article in this issue documents China’s success against poverty. China achieved the poverty reduction target of UN SDG 2030 10 years ahead of schedule. It followed the right sequence of industrialization, adopted greater technological sophistication in tandem with its pursuit of structural change that was inclusive in job creation, industrialization and urbanization- all went hand in hand.
The final article in this issue is on the state of social protection system in Bangladesh. It tracks the progress of National Social Security Strategy (NSSS), analyzes Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and provides an evaluation of the income transfer programme.