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Growth of ultra-rich a matter of big concern: Economists

Published : Thursday, 13 September, 2018 at 12:00 AM  Count : 207

Renowned economists of the country on Wednesday said the sudden increase in the fastest growing ultra-wealthy population is a matter of big concern. This ultra-wealthy population is growing illegally and it is increasing due to inequality prevalent in the society. Prominent economists - adviser to a former caretaker government Dr A B Mirza Azizul Islam, former governor of the Bangladesh Bank Dr Saleh Uddin Ahmed and lead economist of the World Bank in Dhaka office Dr Zahid Hussain said this on Wednesday in their reactions to World Ultra Wealth Report-2018 published by WEALTH-X on September 5.

Dr A B Mirza Azizul Islam told the Daily Observer, "The number of the fastest growing ultra-rich people is not high in Bangladesh but the percentage is more than US, China, Canada and other countries." He said. "The inequality has been increasing over the last few years. For this reason, the number of the fastest growth of ultra-rich people has increased."

When a country enters the status of a developing nation it happens there usually. But it should not reach such a level that becomes a cause for social unrest, he added. The report says the ultra-high net worth (UHNW) population or those with $30m or more in net worth in Bangladesh had posted a 17.3 per cent growth over the last six years (2012-17).  Bangladesh has been ranked as the fastest growing country in the world in terms of its increasing rich population, the report said.

The report of the UK-based data firm says other Asian countries are also creating more ultra wealthy individuals - having wealth worth $30 million or more.  During the same time, the UHNW number rose by 12.9 per cent globally to 255,810 people with their combined wealth surged by 16.3 per cent to $31.5 trillion. UHNW refers to individuals with a net worth of $30 million or more. US-based WEALTH-X provides intelligence and market research on UHNW. Dr Saleh Uddin Ahmed told the Daily Observer, "The economic discrimination is widening every day. Creating fastest-growing ultra wealthy population over the past five years is not a good sign for our country." He said if the government does not mete out punishment to corrupt people the corruption will be encouraged. The government has so far has not held any trial of corrupt people.

Dr Saleh Uddin Ahmed said the income of low-income people has not increased in the last few years. On the other hand, some people earn money illegally. For this reason, the UHNW population is increasing in Bangladesh. He said a section of people is making quick bucks out of the bank sector while some others are doing it with political back-up.  

Dr Zahid Hussain told the Daily Observer, "The trend of the fastest-growing ultra wealthy population over the past five years doesn't go with the current Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). It is dampening the implementation of inclusive growth in our economy." He said if someone earns a huge amount of money legally in a short time there is no problem. But if someone earns that money through corruption, monopoly business and amassing wealth by exploiting others it will affect our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The fastest-growing ultra wealthy population casts a negative impact on our economy. If the money was invested in different sectors then it would have a positive impact on the economy, he said. He said the country had surpassed in the index of ultra wealthy population growth even America, China, Canada and other countries. For this reason, the percentage is so high. "This trend will have a negative impact on the inclusive growth of the country's economy. This wealth concentration is not appropriate for our social status.

"I hope they will invest a lot in Bangladesh rather than taking the money out of the country so that people of Bangladesh can be benefited," he added. According to a survey of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) in 2016, income of five per cent people in the country increased by about 57 per cent compared to 2010. Their monthly income stood at Tk88, 941. On the other hand, five per cent poorest people lost 59 per cent of their income. Their monthly income stood at 733, which was Tk 1,791 in 2010.

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