Overall poverty rate in the country is 42 percent: SANEM



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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Due to Coronavirus, the overall poverty rate in the country has risen to 42 percent. The data was released by the South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM), a research institute based on a nationwide food survey.

Sanem released the results of the survey on Saturday (January 23) at a virtual event titled ‘The Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Poverty and Livelihoods’. Professor Selim Raihan, Research Director of Sanem, presented the results of the survey.

Selim Raihan said, ‘There is a cost to conducting the survey. However, despite the lack of funds, Sanem decided to conduct the survey with its own funds. Otherwise we would have lost a perspective. This survey is from that urgency. Poverty, inequality and employment, these three areas have been identified as the effects of Covid. '

According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) Khana survey, the overall poverty rate in rural areas of the country was 26.4 percent in 2016, which was 24.5 percent according to the 2018 GED-Sanem survey. But due impact of Corona, this rate has increased to 45.3% in 2020.

On the other hand, the overall poverty rate in urban areas was 18.9 percent in 2016 and 18.3 percent in 2018. And in Corona's time, that is, in 2020, it has increased to 35.4 percent.

Another notable finding of the survey is that although the country officially witnessed a huge increase in remittances in 2020, it has declined at the individual level. Because the informal flow has stopped, the expatriate income has officially come. This has reduced the exchange rate.

According to the survey, 82.05 percent of households reported that the income of expatriates from outside the country has decreased. In the same case, there are 17.66 percent families as before. As a result, the impact of expatriate income has not been felt in the society as much as it has been said.

The results of the survey showed that people have reduced non-food expenditure due to poverty due to the effect of corona. Besides, many have spent their savings, taken out loans and changed their eating habits. Of the survey participants, 7.52 percent said they could not find a way to adapt.

According to the survey, the average per capita education expenditure has decreased between 2018 and 2020. For the poorest families, the rate of decline is the highest at 58 percent. Besides, the participation of students from poor families in online education is also low.

Participating in a discussion on the results of the survey, Zahid Hossain, a former chief economist at the World Bank's Bangladesh office, said, "Poverty is usually measured by consumption. But for the first time, Sanem's survey provides precise information on the multifaceted concepts of poverty, such as education and treatment.

He remarked that it would have been better to know how much less effective the alternative education system is than the previous education system.

Zahid Hossain further said, "The way poverty is measured in the Bureau of Statistics' household income-expenditure survey, the way food and other consumption data are collected in different ways throughout the year, the same method was not applied in the Sanem survey. So it is not right to compare the data of these two surveys. '

Professor MM Akash, a teacher in the Department of Economics, Dhaka University, and Fahmida Khatun, Executive Director of CPD, also spoke on the occasion.