Social safety net programmes are not only for poor but a tool to ensure welfare of all people – even the rich– of the country, said Finance Division Secretary Abdur Rouf Talukder at a post-budget press briefing.
The finance minister proposed social safety net programmes to protect the extreme poor and low paid workers, but has included Tk10,000 crore for interest subsidy, interest exemption, refinancing schemes in the package.
The programme also includes Tk6,625 crore for interest support for savings certificate, Tk1,000 crore of block allocation for the planning ministry and Tk23,000 crore for pension of the government employees.
About TK40,625 crore, 42.51 percent of total social safety net programme, is allocated targeting the poor, which may also be used for the rich people.
Responding to a question about including these controversial allocations in the social safety net, the finance secretary said, "Social safety net has a broad concept. It is not only for the poor."
"Pensioners are not currently employees of the government. Compensation package for them is a part of social safety net. It is a concept which is employed worldwide and an old practice in Bangladesh." explained Abdur.
He also said the government has to ensure welfare of the all people including freedom fighters and those who lag behind.
He also said the government is providing higher rate of interest for savings certificates in order to support women, poor and older age people. Amount above the weighted interest rate of banks are being paid under social safety net programme, and it is also an old practice too.
He further said the size of the social safety net programme increases with the ability of a country. It is about 30 percent of the GDP in the countries of the European Union.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal yesterday proposed social safety net programmes worth Tk95,574 crore for the next fiscal year, adding 13,709 crore or 16.75 percent to the revised budget of the current fiscal year.
Allocation for the programmes will exceed 3.01 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) for the first time.
The economists, analysts, development and research organisations from the country and abroad have projected that the rate of poverty in the country has doubled recently due to Covid-19.