The disbursement of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Tk2,500 "Eid gift" announced for each of over 33 lakh poor families is likely to begin next week.
The authorities concerned have instructed mobile financial service (MSF) providers to complete preparations for executing the scheme.
The prime minister is expected to inaugurate the incentive distribution programme this year like in the previous year, said an official of the finance ministry. However, the date has not been finalised yet, he added.
The MFS providers said like last time, cash recipients will not have to bear the cash-out charge this time as well.
The operators will send the cash-out charge to the beneficiaries along with the Tk2,500 offered by the government as cash incentive. Against per transaction, the operators will get a service charge of Tk15 from the government.
Last year, the government took up an initiative to provide Tk2,500 as cash assistance to 50 lakh poor families through MSF providers Nagad, bKash, Rocket and SureCash. Due to errors in the list, 34.06 lakh families could have been assisted in the end.
With the closure of SureCash, the remaining three operators will distribute this year's cash incentive to 33,34,911 households. The distribution of the money will be completed to all of the beneficiaries ahead of the forthcoming Eid-ul-Fitr, officials concerned said.
They further added that the families who were given assistance through Nagad, bKash and rocket last year will get this year's incentive through the same operator. However, the families who received assistance through SureCash last time will get the money from one of the three other operators this year.
Like last time, Nagad – the digital financial service of Bangladesh Post Office, will distribute the lion's share or 44.835 of the prime minister's Eid gift for poor families. The operator will distribute the PM's Eid gift money to 44.83% of the total beneficiaries. Meanwhile, 31.57% of the beneficiaries will receive the cash assistance through Bikash and 23% others through Rocket.
That is, Nagad will distribute cash among 14,96,583 families, bKash among 10,54,233 families and Rocket will distribute money among 7,88,095 families.
Last year, 12.90 lakh households received the prime minister's Eid gift through Nagad, while 9.30 lakh others received it through bKash, 7.05 lakh through Rocket and 4.80 lakh beneficiaries received the money through SureCash.
However, due to inactive PIN numbers, 4 lakh beneficiaries have not been able to withdraw the money yet. This year also Tk2500 will be sent to each of those accounts.
In February this year, the Bangladesh Bank requested the finance ministry to recover Tk101 crore sent to the 4 lakh families but could not be withdrawn due to inactive PIN numbers from mobile service providers concerned.
Tanvir A Mishuk, managing director of Nagad, told The Business Standard, "We promise that the government's allocation will be delivered to all the beneficiaries in accordance with the list given by the administration in the most transparent manner in compliance with all the rules and guidelines."
"This is the farsightedness of our prime minister. Moreover, due to her increased interest in digital services, beneficiaries are now getting the government's grants through their mobile phones sitting at home," he added.