Lauding the allocation of Tk100 crore for youth development in the proposed budget for the fiscal 2019-20, they said the government must ensure proper utilization of the fund
More emphasis on development of the country’s young population was imperative to get the best out of demographic dividend, said participants in a discussion on Tuesday.
Lauding the allocation of Tk100 crore for youth development in the proposed budget for the fiscal 2019-20, they said the government must ensure proper utilization of the fund.
Online news portal Bangla Tribune organized the weekly event, Boithoki, themed “Youth Employment and Budget” at its office in the capital.
The discussion was telecast live on TV channel ATN News and Bangla Tribune’s Facebook page.
Besides the Tk100 crore allocation for training and employment of the youth, another fund of similar size was proposed in the budget for startups. The budget proposed VAT exemption for outlet businesses run by women entrepreneurs.
Towfiqul Islam Khan, senior research fellow at independent think-tank Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said the government must keep an eye on youth development to get the maximum benefits of demographic dividend.
He said the Tk100 crore budget allocation for youth development was a great initiative, while it needed proper utilization.
“In the past, separate funds were allocated for the development of youth, especially women, but they were not spent properly,” he said.
Towfiqul said the draft budget could have been 30-40% bigger.
“Our demand is increasing and so is our economy. Comparing to our demands for development, the proposed budget is not that big,” he maintained.
“Honestly, Bangladesh needs a budget which will be 30-40% bigger than the proposed one, considering its development needs,” the CPD fellow added.
Recalling the youth issue included in the election manifesto of ruling Awami League, Nahim Razzaq, a lawmaker from Shariatpur-3 constituency, said the government had two major challenges in addressing issues relating to them and their capacity building.
“Since the next ten years are important for demographic dividend, we have to work focusing more on youth issues,” he said, adding, the government alone would not be able to handle all the problems regarding youth employment.
“We have proposed the budget with a positive approach (towards the youth). But it is important to monitor the implementation of the fund,” he said further.
Sayeed Ahmed, chief executive of Institute of Informatics and Development, said the issue of youth employment was kept in the budget considering the last national election manifesto.
“The manifesto covered a huge area related to youth as their unemployment is a matter of great concern for us,” he said.
According to him, despite that the budget outlay has been growing, its implementation is not increasing consistently.
“Lack of coordination among the ministries concerned is causing the improper budget implementation,” he observed, recommending an inter-ministerial coordination and capacity building committee in implementing budget.
Sayeed suggests the government seriously think about the growing unemployment, especially of the educated youth, and the automation in industries to have maximum demographic dividend.
Shirin Lira, an official of the PROKAS project of the British Council, said: “We need to have an outline as to how we should roll out a budget to cater to women, marginalized and underprivileged youth of the society.”
“We must think of enhancing the skills of the women and youth entering the international labour markets from Bangladesh,” she pointed out.
Brac Migration Programme Head Shariful Hasan said the government vowed to create 30 million jobs by 2030, which was challenging.
Moderated by journalist Munni Saha, the programme was also addressed by Bangla Tribune Executive Editor Harun Ur Rashid.