BIDA

Covid - 19

COVID-19 Update for Investors

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted economies world-wide and exposed global economies to uncertainty or unprecedent consequences such as halt of business operations and disruption of cross-border supply-chain,

thus causing adverse impacts to trade and investment, employment, economic growth. In view of minimizing such adverse economic shocks by the COVID-19, the Bangladeshi government announced various supporting policy measures (fiscal and non-fiscal measures) while having put restrictive measures in place. BIDA as an apex IPA for Bangladesh also responded to the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 on private sector by proposing emergency measures and actions in view of ensuring the continuation of investors’ business during the pandemic.

Although the pandemic situation has been significantly eased in Bangladesh since August 2021, this section introduces both potential and existing investors with the information access to the COVID-19 monitor, updated restrictions in relation to the COVID-19, brief of economic and trade/ investment trends, remaining policy support measures in response to the COVID-19

COVID-19 Monitor

To see the latest figures on the number of newly infected cases, deaths, number of tests and recoveries, please see the following COVID-19 dashboards:

COVID-19 Dynamics dashboard by Director General of Health Services (DGHS)
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COVID-19 Dashboard for Bangladesh World Health Organization (WHO)
View

Updated: January 19, 2022

Restrictions in relation to the COVID-19

Due to an effective vaccination program and a drop in infection rate, the Bangladeshi government relaxed most of the previous COVID-related restrictions from August 2021 onwards, as announced by the Cabinet Division. However, the measures have been updated by the government in light of the emergence of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, as follow:

Public health and general movement:
Business activities:

Technical Guidelines for Preventing Social and Institutional Spread of the COVID-19 (In Bangla)

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For other government-announced guidelines and instructions related to the COVID-19 pandemic (in Bangla), please be linked to:

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Entry to Bangladesh:

Following the government guidance and instruction, scheduled international passenger flights to/from Bangladesh shall continue with air bubble flight operation as per time slots/ schedule approved by the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB).

The latest rule and restriction, concerning the entry to Bangladesh including quarantine duty, is as follow (see the COVID-19 related circular of CAAB through the link: http://caab.gov.bd/covid19f.html):

For All Passengers: Due to recent spike in COVID-19 cases, it is mandatory for all incoming passengers from abroad to show COVID-19 vaccine certificate and do Rapid Antigen Test as per recent circular by the Cabinet Ministry.
Passengers according to Country classification: Group-A: Armenia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Palestine, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine Group-B: All other countries except Group A
Passengers’ entry to Bangladesh: For Group-A countries Vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine: Travelers having completed full-dose (single/ double dose as applicable for a full-dose) of WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine before 14 days of the travel date can enter Bangladesh. They must carry official proof of vaccination and after arrival they have to complete 7 (Seven) days strict home quarantine. Not vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine: Travelers without having completed full-dose (single/ double dose as applicable for a full-dose) of WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine can enter Bangladesh, provided that they will have to complete a mandatory 7 (seven) days institutional quarantine at government-nominated facility or hotel at his/ her own expenses. RT-PCR test will be carried out after 7 days and he/ she will be released when the test result is negative.
For Group-B countries Vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine: Travelers having completed full-dose (single/double dose as applicable for a full-dose) of WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine before 14 days of the travel date can enter Bangladesh. They must carry official proof of vaccination and no quarantine is required upon arrival. Not vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine: Travelers without having completed full-dose (single/ double dose as applicable for a full-dose) of WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine can enter Bangladesh, provided that they will have to complete a mandatory 14 fourteen) days home quarantine. Passengers originating from this group of countries can make transit via the countries under Group-A, provided that they are kept confined within the transit airport under the close supervision of the airlines.
If the COVID-19 symptom is identified upon arrival Irrespective of the country group and the COVID-19 vaccination, if any COVID-19 symptoms are identified in a traveler upon arrival, he/ she shall be sent to the government-authorized hospital for further check-up and will be sent to 7 (seven) days isolation at government-nominated facility or hotel at his/ her own expenses if the COVID-19 is detected. RT-PCR test will be carried out again after 7 days and he/ she will be released when the test result is negative.
Passengers below 18 years old Passengers below 18 years old without vaccination, originating from any group of countries, can travel with their fully-vaccinated family and they will have to observe same health formalities that will apply to their family members on arrival.
Requirement of RT-PCR test for incoming passengers All incoming passengers, except the children below 12 years old, shall mandatorily possess RT-PCR based COVID-19 negative certificate. The PCR test shall be done within 48 hours of the flight departure time.
Restrictions imposed by the destination/ transit country(s) and the airlines There is no restriction on outgoing passengers travelling to the countries of any group from Bangladesh. However, incoming/ outgoing passengers shall follow the latest restrictions and requirements imposed by the destination/ transit country(s) or by the airlines. Airlines concerned shall arrange to keep their passengers well-informed of their requirements or formalities of origin/ transit/ destination country(s) before their travel.
Additional air travel restriction due to new COVID-19 variant, Omicron Following the government guidance and instruction issued due to the outbreak of new COVID-19 variant, Omicron (effective from 4 Dec. 2021 until further notice), all incoming passengers originated/ transited/ visited Botswana, Eswatini, Ghana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe within last 14 days, shall have to complete a mandatory 14 (fourteen) days institutional quarantine at government-nominated hotels at passenger’s own expenses. RT-PCR test, at passengers’ own expenses, will be carried out on 7th and 14th day of the quarantine. Depending on the RT-PCR test result on 7th day of the quarantine, the positive passengers will be separated for further isolation to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. The COVID negative passengers will continue their institutional quarantine until 14 days. Depending on the RT-PCR test result on 14th day of the quarantine, the negative passengers will be released.

A proof of hotel booking in Bangladesh shall be presented by the passenger(s) during check-in from the countries mentioned in the above paragraph. The airlines representative shall verify it before issuing the boarding pass for Bangladesh. In addition, airlines shall provide passengers passport details with his/ her address and contact number in Bangladesh to the Health Department.

Trends of macro-economy, trade and investment

Despite the global economic downturn, Bangladeshi economy has been deemed relatively resilient to pandemic shocks, although the country’s trade and investment have experienced adverse impacts particularly during the initial stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest observations on macro-economic performance, trades and investments are stated as below:


Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth

Despite the global impacts by the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent measures to restrict the people’s mobility through the nationwide lockdown, Bangladesh shows relative macro-economic resilience with estimated GDP growth of 5.5% in FY2020-21, followed by 3.5% in FY2019-20. Bangladesh was among the few economies of positive growth in 2020, and is ranked 40th resilient economies in the face of the COVID pandemic adversities, being the top among the South Asian nations (Bloomberg’s COVID Resilience Ranking on May 2021). According to the IMF, Bangladesh is forecasted to remain ahead of its neighbors in terms of per capita GDP in the next five years to 2026, while managing the difficult time of the post-COVID economic era.

Actual and forecasted real GDP growth rate

Source: Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics
Actual and forecasted growth of GDP per capita (current USD)

Source: Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the World Bank Group/ IMF (for forecasts)

Trade performance

Export: The country’s export was significantly affected right after the COVID-19 outbreak, because of the global demand slump followed by rampant order suspension or cancellations of major export items, ready-made garment, and further deteriorated by the backlog in export shipping. Export also confronted material input constraint, arisen from the disruption of regional supply-chain. Destinations of the country’s major export items have been revitalizing from the beginning of 2021 onwards. Export which ended up to USD 33.6 billion in 2020 has recorded a 15% growth in 2021 and would reach USD 39.7 billion by 2023 under a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, according to the Bangladesh Bank.

Export performance with forecasted scenario

Source: Bangladesh Bank

Import: The country’s import was also contracted during the initial stage of the COVID-19 pandemic in parallel with the downturn of export processing industries and because of material import disruption, stagnated construction works and consumer demand slump. Total import value declined particularly between Feb. and May 2020, but has later been showing the sign of recovery. According to a projection by the Bangladesh Bank, overall import value would recover to USD 53.7 billion in 2023 under a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario from the declined value recorded in 2020.

Import performance with forecasted scenario

Source: Bangladesh Bank

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow Compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic, FDI inflow (net) to Bangladesh has slightly declined. Throughout the pandemic period, however, FDI inflow volume (net, in quarterly basis) has been maintaining a range of USD 550 to 600 million. Even during the COVID-19 period, FDI inflow in the form of equity has doubled.

Value of FDI inflow (net, in million USD)
SizeColorChest Oct-Dec 720.09
Jan-Mar 582.17
Apr-Jun 605.99
WaistLengthFabricWarranty Jul-Sep 547.56
Oct-Dec 827.86
Jan-Mar 591.75
6 Months 540.15
Source: Bangladesh Bank

Investment project registration with BIDA

The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected the new foreign project registration with BIDA. During the lock down period in Bangladesh (from Apr. to Jun. 2020), the number and value of new project registration was drastically declined but has been on the recovering trend since Oct.-Dec. 2020.

New foreign project registration
  Number Value (in million USD)
FY 2019-20 Oct-Dec 60 1,325
Jan-Mar 47 268
Apr-Jun 6 16
FY2020-21 Jul-Sep 19 113
Oct-Dec 30 687
Jan-Mar 37 78
Apr-Jun 16 19
FY2021-22 Jul-Sep 11 147
Source: BIDA

Policy support measures to businesses in response to the COVID-19

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, the Bangladesh government has undertaken various policy measures (including those related to credit/ interest rate, foreign exchange policies, and monetary/ liquidity easing) and announced financial stimulus packages for economic actors to mitigate their adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among these policy support measures, those currently available for private sector in the country are briefed as follow (as of December 2021):

Foreign exchange measures

The Bangladesh Bank has undertaken supporting measures to counteract adverse impacts of the COVID-19 on the external sector of Bangladesh, through the interventions in foreign exchange market, external trade and financial transactions.

Outward remittance:
Expansion of Export Development Fund (EDF):
Simplification for repatriation of sales proceeds:

Working capital facilities under the Stimulus Package

The Bangladeshi government has announced the financial Stimulus Package, which comprised of more than ten concessional working capital facilities for business purposes, in order to mitigate the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Bangladeshi economy and to safeguard their businesses from liquidity shocks. However, they are already expired as of December 2021.

Please see the following document, if interested in the financial-related measures (including Stimulus Package) that have been undertaken or announced so far by the Bangladesh Bank in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Policy measures of Bangladesh Bank in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic (Special Publication), available through: www.bb.org.bd/en/index.php/publication/publictn/7/38