New IFC Survey Reveals A Third of Workers in Bangladesh’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Now Jobless in Wake of COVID-19 Impacts

A staggering 37 percent of workers in Bangladesh’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) lost their jobs, either temporarily or permanently, in the space of one month, with 94 percent of MSMEs experiencing a sharp drop sales due to the impact of COVID-19. These are among the key findings of the COVID-19 Business Pulse Survey carried out in Bangladesh between June and August 2020, by IFC and the World Bank, in partnership with the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

The survey of over 500 MSMEs shows 70 percent of all workers are now in vulnerable jobs, with businesses either temporarily closed or only partially open. Businesses had, on average, only enough cash to cover costs for just over 100 days. At 91 percent, Bangladesh’s businesses suffered the worst decline in cashflow, compared with similar economies such as Vietnam (66 percent) and Indonesia (69 percent). Thirty-seven percent of women-owned firms had temporarily shut down operations compared with 21 percent of firms owned by men.