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'Poverty reduced, now bring down inequality'

By UNB, DHAKA
08th-Jun-2015       
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Former Deputy Governor of Bangladesh Bank Khondkar Ibrahim Khaled has urged the government to incorporate effective and specific guidelines in the budget to reduce inequality.
"The government has managed to reduce poverty to 23% from 44% (as percentage of the population living below the poverty line) in two decades. But they failed to reduce inequality. Inequality now is 0.47 which lies very close to the danger zone of 0.5. The government must implement a strategy to reduce this disparity," said the retired banker.
The most widely used measure of inequality is the Gini coefficient, that ranges from 0-1, with 0 denoting a perfectly equal society and 1 denoting rampant inequality.
Ibrahim Khaled said this while addressing a post-budget reaction programme organized by Shamunnay, an NGO, at the Jatiya Press Club.
Observing that the budget signals rough times ahead for marginalized segments, he suggested not depending solely on revenue collection for the budget's implementation. "We see government set a target of 30 % increase in revenue collection for the 2015-16 fiscal. Yet we have seen it fail to achieve a target of 21% increase in revenue collection during the outgoing fiscal. Therefore if the government depends solely on revenue collection, and NBR fails for any reason, the budget implementation target will be difficult to achieve," said Khaled.
Given that money allocated in the budget is often misused, he stressed the importance of transparency in various safety net projects and on initiating transparent safety net programmes.
He also demanded specific and guided announcements to achieve the government's targeted growth rate of 7%.
Khaled also demanded specific guidelines to be published for people where government will say what measures they will take to establish good governance in various sectors of government besides implementing budget.
Welcoming the decision of reducing corporate tax to 40% from 42.5% for publicly traded companies, Ibrahim Khaled, who authored a damning probe into the stock market crash of 2010, said "but it may not increase investment as government did not take any steps to reform the stock market".

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