Although a significant economic growth has been achieved in the past decade, the country is still witnessing an alarming gap between poor and rich people, economists and former bankers said yesterday.
The government has to develop safety programmes for the poor and marginalised and also reform institutions like banks to reduce such inequity, they said at a discussion.
Sammilita Samajik Andolon (SSA), a citizen's body, arranged the discussion on “Recent development of Bangladesh and the scenario of increasing inequity” at the Liberation War Museum (LWM) in the capital.
Presenting a keynote paper, economist Prof MM Akash said agriculture, garment sector, demographic dividend or young workforce including migrant workers, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the four key economic drivers of the country at present.
These drivers are immensely potential, but they could not flourish fully due to various obstacles, said Prof Akash, a teacher of economics at Dhaka University.
Inequity prevails in the country and the state will be required to create affordable and flawless social safety programmes for the extreme poor, marginalised, and underprivileged people to overcome it, he added.
Khondkar Ibrahim Khaled, a former deputy governor of the Bangladesh Bank, said when politicians give speeches they often talk about the increase of average income of the people in support of their development activities.
But they never explain the real income of poor and rich people. Alongside economic growth, inequity also increased in the country, he said.
Economist Ramani Mohan Devnath said a reform will be required in the existing banking system, which is largely responsible for creating inequity in the country.
Naznin Ahmed, a researcher of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, said many women are emerging as medium and small level entrepreneurs at present.
But they are facing discrimination in having sufficient credit for their enterprises, she said.
SSJ Chairperson and LWM Trustee Ziauddin Tarique Ali chaired the discussion, which was also attended by historian Prof Syed Anwar Hossain.