Says Citizen’s Platform for SDGs
Business Desk : dhakamirror.com
Bangladesh is increasingly becoming a very unequal country as the disparity between income distribution and consumption has been growing for years, said the Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh today.
The concerns come as income inequality rose to 0.499 on the Gini coefficient scale, which measures the distribution of income and consumption among the population, in 2022 from 0.482 in 2016.
The level of income inequality was 0.45 in 2010, according to the latest Household Income and Expenditure Survey of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).
Inequality in consumption has risen too in the six years to 2022, according to the survey, which showed that disparity has risen sharply in urban areas in both income and consumption.
“Overall income inequality in Bangladesh has witnessed a modest upward trend,” said Debapriya Bhattacharya, convenor of the platform, at a dialogue at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
The platform organised the event so that the concerns of disadvantaged groups are addressed in the upcoming national budget. It is the first budget after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) started disbursing funds under its $4.7 billion loan programme for Bangladesh and it has attached a number of conditions as well.
Bhattacharya said most of the reform measures built into the IMF loan are long overdue. “The government should have carried out these reforms on its own.”
Numerous studies including those from the IMF have consistently demonstrated that inequality tends to increase during IMF programmes or as a result of IMF conditionalities, he said.
According to the noted economist, inequality in rural areas declined slightly because of the positive impact of non-farm activities, agricultural output, and social safety net programmes.
“On the other hand, urban inequality experienced a significant increase in both periods,” he said, adding that urban inequality has been fuelled by rural-urban migration.
He suggested the government implement IMF programme-stipulated reforms and policy steps by taking the inequality concerns into cognisance and in consultation with disadvantaged populations.
“The government should introduce participatory, result-based management by involving the intended beneficiaries.”
People representing various sections of people in society attended the dialogue, where Planning Minister MA Mannan was also present.