All party parliamentary group on extreme poverty soon
Speaker Abdul Hamid tells anti-poverty campaign
Speaker Abdul Hamid Advocate yesterday said an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on extreme poverty would be formed soon to create a new horizon of debates on the issue.
“One of the main tasks of the group would be to publish an informative and suggestive report annually on extreme poverty,” he added.
Hamid said this as the chief guest at the concluding session of a three-day anti-poverty campaign marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
APPG, two NGOs - People's Empowerment Trust (PET) and Shiree -- in association with the government and the Department for International Development (DFID), UK organised the event. Yesterday's theme was 'Extreme poverty of Bangladesh'.
The speaker said, “APPG on extreme poverty would act like the other APPGs on other issues consistently. As a result, a new horizon of debates on extreme poverty would be introduced.”
DFID and Shiree have already expressed their interest in working with APPG on extreme poverty in the long run, said the guardian of the House.
Criticising excess spending in government or non-government activities, Hamid said, “We spend relentlessly despite our limited financial capacity. We must come out of such culture. If we cannot do it, do we have right to talk about the extreme poor?”
Stating that implementing some projects or programmes cannot help eradicate extreme poverty, he said the most important task in this regard is to identify the root causes of poverty, frame policy in that line and implement it.
“For this, the parliament should concentrate on poverty, especially extreme poverty,” the speaker said, calling on the lawmakers to play the role of captains together to fight poverty and hunger.
Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury said the marginal and landless farmers who produce food against dozens of odds actually suffer from such extreme poverty.
Referring to increased salinity in the southern part and drought in the northern part of the country, she said, “Food security of the poor is the issue of utmost importance, but our government already proved itself to be sincere to feed the poor.”
Finance Minister AMA Muhith said though there are many government and non-government programmes to reduce poverty, extreme poor go unnoticed by most of them.
He said 40 percent people of the country still live under poverty line and half of them are extreme poor, adding that climate change has become a major threat to poverty reduction.
Stating that a large number of people are underemployed in the country, Muhith said creating employments through more investments and increasing real income are essential ways to cut extreme poverty.
Noted economist Prof Rehman Sobhan said asset transfer to the extreme poor and providing them with income generating facilities could greatly help reduce poverty as a whole.
Information Minister Abul Kalam Azad, Awami League lawmaker Saber Hossain Chowdhury and DFID Bangladesh's Head of Office Jim McAlpine also spoke at the programme moderated by Manusher Jonno Foundation Executive Director Shaheen Anam.