The government targets to wipe out extreme poverty from Bangladesh within 2031 implementing a new perspective plan for 2021-2041, which will require 0.85 percent of people to come out of the lower poverty line every year.
The General Economic Division (GED) has placed the draft of the new plan before Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday. Hasina gave the go-ahead signal for presenting the plan at the next meeting of the National Economic Council.
The extreme poverty rate in the country was 11.3 percent at the end of 2018 and the annual rate of decline was 0.78 percent in the last six years. The reduction rate was 1.5 percent five years before that, according to the latest Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics data.
Poverty reduction rate is slowing down every year and things are going to get even tougher in the future.
The new plan targets cutting the upper poverty rate to 9.9 percent by 2031, which would require one percent poverty reduction every year.
Encouraged by 1.8 percent poverty reduction per year between 2005 and 2010, the GED set the target of cutting poverty down to 13.25 percent by 2021, but according to the bureau of statistics, the current rate is 21.8 percent.
However, poverty reduced by 1.08 percent in the last decade.
The new plan aims to bring the upper poverty rate below five percent within 2041.
To implement the new plan, the government has sits dream of achieving a double-digit growth in gross domestic product (GDP) within 2021. The GED now wants the economy to grow by 9 percent within 2031 and by 9.9 percent within 2041.
Dr Shamsul Alam, a member of the GED, told the Business Standard that the new plan will help Bangladesh achieve the status of a developed country by 2041, raising the per capita income to $12,500, which is now $1,909.
He also said the new plan suggests a series of projects and programme to achieve higher growth and increase the real income of people.
"The new plan will increase investment especially from the private sectors and raise the living standard, reducing regional and income disparities," he said.
Dr Mirza Azizul Islam, former adviser to a caretaker government and an economist said the country can cut more than one percent of poverty every year with the current growth rate.
He said the new employment generation to growth ratio is falling, which has a negative impact on the employment earnings and creating income disparity.
Despite huge investment from the public sector, private investment is not rising significantly.
"The government should emphasise these priority issues to reduce poverty," Mirza Azizul recommended, adding that it is impossible to bring poverty down to zero.
According to the Planning Commission, the ongoing perspective plan for 2010-21 had a target of 38 percent investment rate against the GDP which was only 31.56 percent in the fiscal year 2018-19.
Following the target of 39 percent domestic savings against the GDP, the government reached only 28.41 percent.