The prices of essential commodities tend to spiral following the announcement of national budgets, much to the distress of the poor and the ultra-poor, found a recent survey.
Only one-fifth of the respondents of a survey conducted by Brac and research organisations iSocial and Unnayan Shamannay think the yearly budget announcements have nominal effect.
But around two-thirds think the prices of essential commodities typically go up after the announcement. The survey, which started this year, is part of a seven-year research on comprehensively measuring the budget’s impact on the poor and extreme poor.
The findings were presented at a press conference at the Cirdap auditorium in the capital yesterday.
The research would lead to the development of a robust data model that helps run simulation to check impact and implications of small changes in macroeconomic decisions on household economy and marginalised individuals.
It would also help identify gaps and priorities to make macroeconomic decisions more cohesive and inclusive.
The survey was conducted among 4,800 randomly selected respondents from extreme poor, poor and middle-income backgrounds.
The findings are grouped in three categories: effectiveness of social security services, public perception about the budget’s priorities, and disaster preparedness and mechanisms in marginalised households.
Of the respondents, 10 percent receive at least one social security service and one-third of these receivers are women.
Seemingly, most priorities have been given to old age, widow, disabled and freedom fighter allowances, while the other social security services seemed to have less government focus.
The allowances meet crucial daily household needs and medical expenses and preserve social respect and mental wellbeing.
On the disaster preparedness and mechanisms in marginalised households, the survey found that over half the households that went through disaster situations were compelled to use savings. Almost all of the remaining had to borrow to survive.
Most of the respondents called for increasing initiatives and subsidies in education, healthcare and youth employment, said Atiur Rahman, former governor of the Bangladesh Bank.
Pension schemes are also highly beneficial, boosting socio-economic development for all, including garment workers who face difficulties on suddenly losing their jobs in their middle age, he added.
The pace of development for the poor is very slow, leading to increase in inequalities, said Nazneen Ahmed, senior research fellow at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies.
Close monitoring mechanisms were required on utilisation of allocations and on ensuring that social security services reach the right people, said KAM Morshed, a Brac director.
The allowances must also reach the target people on time, said Ananya Raihan, chief executive officer of Infolady Social Enterprise (iSocial).