ANKARA: Bangladesh hopes to be a role model for the developing world in social services provided by the government to help poor, ill, disabled and elderly people, said a high official.
“I can assure you that our country will be a role model of social welfare in the next five years,” Bangladesh’s Social Welfare Minister Nuruzzaman Ahmed told Anadolu Agency.
He was in Ankara last week to attend an international event organized by Turkey’s Ministry of Family and Social Policies.
Ahmed described the projects and programs of his ministry designed to protect citizens from economic risks and insecurities, mainly the poor and underprivileged people in remote areas.
Referring to the recent sustained economic growth of Bangladesh, which government claimed as a role model for developing countries, Ahmed vowed his country will also set an example in social welfare.
In March 2018, the UN Committee for Development Policy said Bangladesh has fulfilled the eligibility requirements to graduate from the least development country (LDC) and could receive official developing country status by 2024 as the country has met all three criteria for getting out of the LDC bloc: gross national income (GNI) per capita, human assets index (HAI) and economic vulnerability index (EVI).
According to a UN report last year, Bangladesh’s GNI was $1,272 in 2018 surpassing the $1,230 threshold.
Dhaka said the UN recognition shows Bangladesh has become a role model of development by achieving laudable successes in the last decade.
Describing his ministry’s projects for the disadvantaged population of the society, Ahmed underlined they are providing allowances for widows, elderly and disabled people.
“We provide a one-time grant of Bangladeshi Taka 50,000 (approx. $600) for patients with cancer, kidney, liver, cirrhosis, paralysis and many more complex diseases,” he added.
According to Ahmed, one million disabled people are getting financial support from his ministry out of a total of 1,564,000 disabled people in the country.
“We will reach the rest of these disabled people within the next five years,” he said.
The Social Welfare Ministry also provides them with education, healthcare services, and employment as 1 percent quota in the public sector is allocated for the disabled.
“We give elderly allowance to 4 million people. About 800,000 women get widow allowance. We are distributing loans to poor people in rural areas to create jobs. They can be self-employed by this interest-free loan and can launch their own business.”
He also said his government has built child care centers in all 64 districts across the nation to bring street children back to the mainstream society.
The government has been working hard to reduce poverty and has gained impressive success in this area, he said, adding that the country would be free of beggars very soon.
“We are providing all type of support to reduce beggars, as several areas of the country have already been declared beggar-free.”
The ministry also builds and runs hospitals for disadvantaged people, daycare centers, mothercare centers, rehabilitation for disadvantaged people, child protection and development programs and human resource training programs.
On a question whether his ministry has any plans for a bilateral agreement or experience sharing deal with Turkey Ahmed said: “We have a plan like this.”
“I have discussed our welfare program during the event in Ankara. I have also heard about Turkey’s efforts and successes in this field,” he added.