Tk 15b social safety funds spent on ineligible beneficiaries: CPD

CPD organises a discussion on ‘How to Improve Coverage and Effectiveness of the Social Safety Net Program’, at BRAC Centre in the capital on Sunday.UNB

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) in a survey report said about one-third or Tk 15 billion of social safety net allocation goes to ineligible beneficiaries due to wrong selection.

The report stated about 30 per cent of social safety net recipients are elderly and 33 per cent are widowed ineligible beneficiaries. Through which about Tk 15 billion was spent on ineligible beneficiaries.

CPD calls for effective household surveys to prevent this.

CPD believes that if this wastage can be prevented, it is possible to bring 45 per cent of the genuinely eligible people under the allowance. At the same time CPD also suggested increasing the allocation to bring eligible non-beneficiaries under the allowance.

Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director of CPD revealed the primary survey data on Sunday at a discussion on ‘How to Improve Coverage and Effectiveness of the Social Safety Net Program’, held at BRAC Centre in the capital on Sunday.

The survey highlighted that beneficiaries from different areas of Bangladesh believed they were receiving the benefit due to nepotism or a faulty selection process.

Even beneficiaries of other social security programmes like pension and vulnerable group development are getting old age and widow allowances, the report said.

On the issue of nutrition, the survey found that pulses and vegetables were the main sources of nutrition for allowance recipients.

The CPD suggested that to achieve the SDG goals, all eligible individuals in the country should be brought under a social safety net programme.

It required an additional allocation of Tk900 billion in the budget, which can be possible to earn by stopping tax evasion, the think tank’s observation said.

Chief guest of the programme Rashed Khan Menon, MP also chairman parliamentary standing committee on Ministry of Social Welfare said the state was politically and economically trapped by a small group of rich people, and while poverty was decreasing, inequality was increasing.

“Social security programmes should be increased to reduce inequality. However, the social security sector does not have the resources to increase allocations, and this can only be done if tax evasion is stopped,” he added.

Aroma Dutta MP, Dr Md Abdul Aziz MP and Rasheda K Chowdhury, former adviser to the caretaker government were present in the function as the special guests.

CPD executive director Fahmida Khatun chaired the event and opined in her speech that nepotism and political considerations were present in the selection of beneficiaries of social security programmes.

The bigger problem was that those affected were not receiving the security benefits and those receiving it were getting less than what they should, she said.