Distinguished Fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Professor Mustafizur Rahman suggested on Saturday an allocation of four per cent of GDP to social safety net programmes instead of the existing 2.2 per cent to help poverty alleviation in the country.
He said about 15 million people of the country are now living below extreme poverty and 30 million below the poverty line whereas budgetary allocations on social safety net programmes should be increased to help them come out of the vicious cycle of poverty.
Mustafizur Rahman also said though there are some problems of micro credit, it has been playing a significant role in poverty eradication in the country and Bangladesh's micro credit model is being followed in different countries of the world.
Mr. Mustafizur Rahman made the observations at a mock parliament on 'Micro Credit and Social Safety Net Programmes," at the Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC). Debate for Democracy organised the programme where Eastern University participated as the ruling party and University of Asia Pacific as the Opposition.
Chairman of Debate for Democracy Hassan Ahamed Chowdhury Kiron presided over the programme.
It was also attended, among others, by Professor Abu Mohammad Royis, Dr. S M Morshed and Journalist Doulot Akter Mala.
Speaking on the occasion Mustafizur Rahman said micro credit contributed a lot to the poverty alleviation in the country though it has some problems in some arenas.
"I think one of the problems of the micro credit is that sometimes to pay the loan of one organisation the borrowers again take loan from another organisation which keeps them in the vicious cycle of poverty," he added.
Mustafizur Rahman said social safety net programmes should include right people.
Marking some of the irregularities of the social safety net programmes, he said a social safety net programme providing 30 kg rice per person to 5 million low income people left many who ought to have been brought under the programme.
Mr. Rahman said social safety net programmes also should be inclusive otherwise discrimination will increase in the society.
Hassan Ahamed Chowdhury Kiron said though different NGOs are working in the country in different micro credit schemes, there are opposite views about the micro credits too.
He said there are also complaints that many poor people lost everything availing micro credit loans but there are also positive scenarios that a lot of poor people changed their fate and came out of the poverty through micro credit loans.