Poor people to get priority in next budget: Kamal

Staff Correspondent

22 April, 2021 12:00 AM printer

The next fiscal’s budget will focus on poor people and simultaneously maintaining the lives and livelihood to help economic recovery from the ongoing corona crisis, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said on Wednesday.

“Our next budget will remain dedicated to the poor people of the country. The poor community will get priority in the next budget. We’ll also give priority to maintaining the lives and livelihood of the people,” he said.

The finance minister was replying to queries of reporters after chairing two separate meetings virtually on Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs and the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase (CCGP).

Asked whether they are apprehending any ‘mismatch’ in the upcoming distribution of cash support or Prime Minister’s Eid Gift of Tk 2,500 each to some 33.39 lakh poor families, Kamal said as per the experience of last year, there was no mismatch, rather there was some delay.

He said the targeted marginal people of the country or the beneficiaries of such cash support are not so technology-friendly or they are not fully capable of receiving direct transfers.

“In such cases, the process may be delayed, but there will be no mismatch. The decision of the government in this regard is to ensure direct cash transfer and we’re working to this end. If the relevant system is fully developed and everyone comes under the system, then it will be possible to do much more work in less time,” he added.

The finance minister said the Prime Minister is actively considering the matter and such financial support would be provided as soon as possible.

As per the decision of the government, around Tk 8.35 billion would be distributed this time among around 33.39 lakh low-income group people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic situation with Tk 2,500 each per family through mobile financial services.

Asked about the government steps for the poor during this lockdown period referring to the recent joint survey by Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC) and the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) about the new poor, Kamal said the government accepts the data from the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).

He said the BBS is yet to release any fresh data on the new poor owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and once they release, it would be made public.

The finance minister said the target of the government is to help the poor and bring them into the mainstream of society and economy. “We’re working tirelessly to this end,” he added.

The BIGD and PPRC survey findings showed that the economic shock induced by the pandemic has pushed 2.45 crore people into poverty in one year.