Bangladesh needs to rein in the alarmingly rising inequality in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, said experts yesterday.
“The government will have to reduce inequality to achieve the SDGs,” said Sultana Kamal, chairperson of Transparency International Bangladesh.
She spoke at a conclave titled “Four Years of SDGs in Bangladesh” organised by the Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh, a forum of civil society, NGOs and the private sector, at Bangabandhu International Conference Center in Dhaka.
“Our economy is growing at a good rate. At the same time, there are inequality and a lack of the rule of law in society,” Sultana Kamal said, adding that without an accountable political system, inequality would intensify.
Prof Mustafizur Rahman, a distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said Bangladesh’s economy was like a two-economy state, where the upper income group has been richer and the marginalised people have been deprived. He said the freedom fighters had fought against the two-economy system when Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan but the country still faces a similar situation.
“The government should focus on it to achieve the SDGs,” he said, adding that inequality was rising at an alarming rate.
Debapriya Bhattacharya, another distinguished fellow of the CPD, echoed Rahman, saying inequality was a major problem facing the country and the marginalised people were lagging behind.
Rezwan-Ul-Alam, director for knowledge management at Manusher Jonno Foundation, a non-government and non-profit organisation, said the growing inequality in terms of income, wealth, access to resources and justice afflicting the disadvantaged and marginalised population poses a serious threat to the attainment of the SDGs.
“To reduce inequality, implementation of various government programmes through transparent and accountable governance has equal importance.”