Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Sunday said Bangladesh will be able to bring down its poverty level to 14-15 percent by the end of 2020 from 26 percent.
“A country with 12-14 percent population living below the poverty line is not poor. I hope we’ll be able to reduce the poverty level to 14-15 percent from 26 percent by the end of this decade,” he said.
The Finance Minister was addressing a national convention, titled ‘Towards Poverty Alleviation and Social Development: The Role of Microfinance Institutions (MFI)’.
The national convention was jointly organised by Institute of Micro-Finance, Micro Credit Regulatory Authority and Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
Muhith suggested changing the slogan for removing poverty, saying the slogan should be 'Poverty Eviction and Social Development' instead of existing 'Social Development and Poverty Alleviation'. “I believe, poverty in Bangladesh won’t continue for a long time. So, it’s a high time to change the slogan,” he said.
The Finance Minister added that micro-finance will remain relevant event with a 14-15 percent poverty rate.
He also thanked Nobel Laureate Prof Dr Yunus for initiating a micro-finance programme focused on the poor section of society that has been implemented without any record of loan defaulting.
“The microcredit organisations are playing a great role here but the rate of interest is a bit high in the country. Small traders will get the rewards if the rate could be brought down. That’s where we need to focus,” Muhith said.
He also said the percentage of loan defaulters in micro-credit programmes should not exceed 5 percent.
Department for International Development (DFID) country representative Sarah Cook, Institute of Microfinance executive director Khandaker Mujahidul Haque spoke at the programme, moderated by Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) president Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad.