Call for more allocation for social safety net programmesStaff Correspondent
Speakers at a pre-budget discussion on Wednesday urged the government to increase the budget allocation to social safety net programmes (SSNP) and ensure that it would be provided to poor people without corruption.
They also called upon the government to formulate an integrated national social safety net policy as currently there are over eighty SSNPs that are being implemented in Bangladesh under multiple government ministries and departments.
Organised by Shamunnay, the call was made at a discussion titled ‘Social Safety Net and the Marginalised: Imperatives for Budget 2012-13’.
Bangladesh Krishi Bank chairman, Khandker Ibrahim Khaled chaired the discussion, saying that special attention needed to be paid in increasing budgetary allocation for SSNP’s in the upcoming national budget.
He said the government should take steps to develop a centrally managed database for SSNPs in which all beneficiaries of the programmes would be listed.
He added that a comprehensive database on the SSNP beneficiaries would play an important role in ensuring efficient and effective implementation of the programmes and other anti-poverty initiatives in the country.
He also called for an integrated national policy to be drawn up by the government to implement programmes.
At the discussion, food and disaster management minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque said 31 per cent of the population was living in extreme poverty.
He said, ‘despite the lack of transparency for implementing the social safety net programme, it would be continued in the coming years.’
The main objective of the SSNP is to assist marginal people so that they would be able to increase their living standards, he said, further giving the assurance that the government would ensure the SSNPs continue.
Enamul Haque, a professor at the United International University said the government could introduce a social pension scheme for poor people.
‘Our government has already fixed the target that Bangladesh will become a middle-income country by 2021, so social security will have to be ensured for deprived people’ he said,
M A Mannan, a member of parliament from Sunamganj, argued that a total of 87 SSNPs were currently being implemented across the country under multiple ministries. As a result, he said, there has been a lack of coordination. The government should take steps in this regard so that the programmes could be implemented smoothly, he added.
Dilruba Yasmin Chowdhury, project coordinator of Shamunnay, presented the key note paper at the discussion.
She said the budgetary allocations for the SSNPs had been increasing for the last few years, but there was a persistent fall in the percentage growth on a year on year basis.
She said the government had allocated Tk 35,880 crore in FY2010-11 for the Annual Development Programmes budget and of that, 6.49 per cent was distributed to SSNPs.
Furthermore, in FY2011-12, the government allocated Tk 46,000 crore to the ADP and of that, 5.28 per cent was distributed to the SSNPs.
She argued that the government should increase the budgetary allocation in percentage basis of ADP.
Among others, Mahbuba Nasrin, Professor of Dhaka University, Mohammad Mahfuz Kabir, senior research fellow of Bangladesh Institute of International & Strategic Studies addressed at the discussion.
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