Distinguished Professor Ali Riaz in a commentary on the Bangladesh government’s economic stimulus packages in the wake of Covid-19 noted that mismanagement and misplaced priorities are hurting the poor people. Published in the Daily Star, Riaz noted in his commentary that the cash transfer program to poor people is being administered with no urgency.
The program was inaugurated in mid-May and was supposed to offer one-time cash to 5 million people to cope with the loss of wages and earnings. But until the first week of July only 1.6 million have received the money. Corruption by ruling party leaders and local officials are blamed for highly flawed lists of potential recipients and the delay in the distribution. He said that the corruption in this instance is a result of the culture of impunity of the past years. Those who did all these are well aware that nothing will happen to them.
In the commentary titled “A Tale of Misplaced Priorities,” Riaz argued that the government initiative to help the most vulnerable group of people came late, particularly when the pandemic has significantly increased the number of poor people in the country.
He insisted that beyond the mismanagement and corruption, the delayed step in providing relief to vulnerable people and slow process in implementing it it also reveals the government’s priorities, it cares less about the less fortunate when members of political elites and privileged class are enjoying differential treatment.