• Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Poverty rate comes down

Analysts link it to expansion of industrial and services sectors

Sajjadur Rahman

Poverty rate came down to 26.4 percent in 2013, from 31.5 percent in 2010, mainly due to expansion of industrial and services sectors, latest budget documents show.
The rate of decline was 1.70 percentage points a year. Poverty fell 1.8 percentage points annually between 2000 and 2005, and 1.7 percentage points annually between 2005 and 2010, according to Household Income and Expenditure Survey.
Analysts said consistent economic growth, employment generation, wage hike in the farm sector and social safety net programmes have played the key role in reducing poverty rates steadily.
Wage hike in the farm sector due to labour migration to non-farm sectors also has a role, said Ahsan H Mansur, executive director of Policy Research Institute, a private think tank.
A labourer in the farm sector gets Tk 400 a day, which is quite a good amount, he said.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith in his budget speech on Thursday said the rates of poverty and extreme poverty went down to 26.4 percent and 11.9 percent respectively in 2013, from 33.4 percent and 19.3 percent in 2009.
Also, there was a continuous decline in the number of poor people -- from nearly 63 million in 2000, to 55 million in 2005, and then 47 million in 2010.

“Some sorts of impetus have been created in our economy. Also, the social safety net schemes contributed to poverty reduction,” said Hossain Zillur Rahman, executive director of Power and Participation Research Centre.
Rahman, however, questioned the finance minister's estimate as Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics did not carry out any household income and expenditure survey since 2010.
“He [the finance minister] extrapolated the rate from the previous one of poverty reduction,” he said.
Analysts said the rate of poverty reduction is not enough to pull the country out of poverty in near future though Bangladesh is on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
“Still, we have a big number of poor people. About 25 million people live in extreme poverty, which is more than the total population of many countries,” Rahman said.
“We need a big jump in poverty reduction.”
Zaid Bakht, research director of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, said the poverty reduction rate is in line with the MDGs target, which said poverty has to be halved by 2015 from that of 2000. In 2000, the poverty rate was 48.9 percent.
“But the country needs an accelerated poverty reduction rate to bring the extreme poor out of poverty,” Bakht said.

Published: 12:01 am Sunday, June 08, 2014

Last modified: 9:36 pm Sunday, June 08, 2014

TAGS: Poverty rate industrial and services sectors Household Income Expenditure Survey. Finance Minister AMA Muhith

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