We must do a better job of tackling poverty
The year 2020 was a historically difficult year for the entire world. However, it is the poor that have suffered the most, more so for Bangladesh, where there was an alarming rise in extreme poverty.
According to a survey by the South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM), extreme poverty increased threefolds -- from 9.4% in 2018 to 28.5% in 2020 -- while the poverty rate itself doubled from 21.6% in 2018 to 42% in 2020. Furthermore, and equally concerning, is that, while the average per capita household expenditure in 2020 decreased by 45% amongst the extreme poor, there was an increase of 6% in non-poor and non-vulnerable households.
Yes, the Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating for the entire world, and poverty and extreme poverty has risen globally. Regardless, the onus is on the leaders and authorities concerned to ensure that these people are looked after, and take a pro-active approach to ensuring that citizens vulnerable to economic downturns do not slip further down into the poverty trap.
In addition, the difference in household expenditure between the poor and non-poor presents a stark picture of inequality and inequity, and this cannot become the reality for Bangladesh as it moves up the development ladder and harbours ambitions of middle-income status.
Bangladesh has always championed equitable growth and building an equitable nation. In order for that to be a reality, we must do a better job of tackling poverty and ensuring that the discrepancy between the rich and poor is lessened, instead of allowing it to grow.