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Covid-19 compelling people to choose lower-grade jobs for survival

  • Published at 04:29 am July 27th, 2020

Annual revenue of SME sector is reduced by 67% in 2020 compared to 2019 

The Covid-19 pandemic, followed by the economic ramification, has affected people from all walks of life and many have been compelled to choose lower-grade jobs in order to survive. 

Neaj Ahmed completed his graduation in Food Engineering from Hajee Mohammad Danesh Science and Technology University. With his academic knowledge, he and his friend Rubiyat Meer Shahid, a Dhaka University graduate, started a restaurant named D6 Diner in Dhaka’s Dhanmondi area. 

As the pandemic hit, they had to stop doing business following the lockdown. However, they needed to run the business for the earlier investments. They called up their employees to join work, but no one responded. 

At this point, Neaj took the decision that he will cook by himself and deliver the food from door to door -- transferring himself to a chef and delivery man from a food engineer. 

Neaj said: “I am a food engineer and I know that if I cook and deliver the food by myself to our regular customers, they will believe that it is hygienic."

“It was challenging, as no one trusted food from outside due to safety issues. We took that challenge and the pandemic situation has taught us many things.” 

“There is nothing to be worried about or be frustrated. We need to cope with the changing situation and find a path to survive,” he added. 

Neaj feels proud to be a chef and delivery man for his own business. He encourages others through social medias to do things by following different ways. 

Difficult to maintain way of life 

Shahjahan Chisty has a decorating business in Taltola’s Mollapara area. He supplies chair, table, curtain, plate, glass, etc. to different social and religious programs including weddings and birthdays. 

He had to totally stop doing his business as public gatherings were forbidden all across the country from the first day of the Covid-19 lockdown. Now he sells spices at his decorator store. 

“I have to live. That is why I am selling spices to feed my family,” said Shahjahan. 

However, it is really difficult for him to run his family, pay rent for his store, warehouse and house with the limited amount of money he earns from selling spices. 

“In total, I have to pay Tk30,000 for rent and have five family members to feed. It is difficult to survive with the money I earn from selling spices,” he added. 

He said, Saiful Islam, another decorating businessman in Taltola, has started selling tea at his store. 

Recently, the number of vegetable vendors have increased in the streets of Dhaka. Most of them are newcomers to this business as they have lost their jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Tuhin, a National University graduate, has been selling vegetables on a van in Shewrapara area. He seemed slow and unfamiliar with the business. 

Tuhin said: “I used to work for a recruiting agency and lost my job due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I have to do something to feed my family, so I am selling vegetables now."

“However, the money I earn is not enough to run my family and I am trying to do something different and better than this.” 

He is doing the business far away from his home as no one, not even his family, knows he is selling vegetable, he added. 

According to a study report, published by Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) on June 24, income was reduced by 75% for 19.23% of the participants, with income less than Tk5,000. 

Meanwhile, 23.31% of participants, with income between Tk5,000-Tk15,000, reported a drop of 50% compared to their last month’s income. 

Annual revenue of SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) sector is reduced by 67% in 2020 compared to 2019, said another study report published by BIDS on the same day. 

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