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Slow down in poverty reduction needs special attention

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18th-Oct-2017       
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POVERTY reduction rate in the country is slowing down as calculated from data that to be revealed by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) in few days as per report in a national daily. The yearly average poverty reduction rate was estimated at 1.7 percent from 2005 and 2010 and it then slowed down to 1.2 percent from 2010 and 2016. Experts have noted a slower growth in agriculture mainly responsible for the slowdown and believe immediate policy interventions were needed to give boost to poverty reduction performance in rural economy.

Some other important reasons contributing to poverty reduction were identified as a sharp drop in remittance, lack of job creation for younger people and growing income inequality hitting hard poor. It appears that the overall management of the economy is facing slow down to reflect in the slow down in poverty reduction and that needs special attention at a time when the government is now otherwise busy neglecting the impacts of the slow down in important sectors of the economy.

The exodus of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar has newly added to the economic strains threatening further slow down to poverty reduction adding more socio-economic challenges to the nation. Finance Minister's comment that the existing budgetary allocations need to be rearranged to address the plight of the Rohingya refugees suggests poverty reduction may see further dent in the coming time if the crisis can't be resolved and the refugees stay in the country over longer period.   

Reports suggest that even though the percentage of the ultra poor dropped from 17.6 in 2010 to 12.9 in 2016 poverty mitigation was faster during the previous five years. It means that as poverty rate is slowing down more comprehensive measures are needed to give extra push to get results from new poverty reduction measures   
As per World Bank forecast, Bangladesh has the potential to end extreme poverty by 2030 if it takes firm steps to make growth more inclusive to benefit all Bangladeshis. It is currently the 64th poorest out of the 154 countries and much remains to be done. The development update stresses need for increasing resilience to security, financial, and trade shocks along with lower  performance in exports. 

The annual economic growth is growing and poised to exceed 7 percent soon but the income gap is creating greater socio-economic imbalance pushing the poor to become poorer while the rich are getting richer. Overall growth performance alone can't measure equal or equitable income distribution, which is so important to remove poverty from the lower segment of the population.

So government efforts must concentrate to give more boost to productivity in the economy encouraging more investment in basic sectors like agriculture and industrial productivity. An inclusive policy must be at work instead of placing more resources to the benefits of the rich and powerful people. A slower poverty reduction may jeopardize every other effort to achieve better economic success.   


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