Highlighting the government’s efforts for supporting senior citizens, Planning Minister MA Mannan on Wednesday said the government is keen to bring everyone under the pension coverage.
“We want to introduce pension for everyone. The government has already started working on that,” Mannan said.
He made the remarks at a discussion titled ‘Introducing Universal Pension Scheme in Bangladesh: In Search of a Framework’ arranged by Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) with support from Oxfam at a city hotel.
The minister said the amount of pension should not be too high. “We can’t set very high amount of pension that everyone will stay home without working and their contributions to the economy will decline.”
“As far as I know, we’ve a small cell or organisation inside the finance ministry which has started the groundwork keeping this issue in view,” the minister added.
Mannan said the government has firmly been supporting about 60 percent of the elder citizens with retirement allowance. “In fact, we’re reaching about 50-60 percent of people. That means we’ve covered most of the areas and, I think, we can reach those who are left out soon,” he said.
The minister also proposed private financing for public pensions. “Not everyone can participate here. We still have 11-12 percent of people without net income…our target is to elevate their condition.”
According to CPD research, 40 percent of the public who are aged 65 or above do not receive pension.
CPD recommended enacting universal pension law to provide retirement allowance at a flat rate to citizens aged 65 and above akin to countries like India and the Maldives.
CPD also suggested providing around 20 percent more of the average wage as retirement allowance to elder citizens.
Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Planning Abul Kalam Azad, MP, former World Bank Lead Economist Zahid Hossain, and CPD Distinguished Fellow Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya also attended the programme.