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Dhaka Tribune

Oxfam: Bangladesh lags behind in reducing inequality

A new Oxfam report ranks Bangladesh as 148th in the world for reducing inequality

Update : 09 Oct 2018, 03:15 PM

While the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are forecasting around 7.5% economic growth for Bangladesh in the current fiscal year, an Oxfam report concluded that the country is still far behind in reducing inequality in the society.    

The report, “The Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index 2018,” jointly researched by the Development Finance International (DFI) and Oxfam is an index based on a new database of Indicators – covering 157 countries – which measures government action on social spending, tax and labour rights—three areas found to be critical in reducing the inequality gap.

Oxfam said while adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, the world community had committed to reducing inequality in the society, and to identifying the current situation.

According to the report, Bangladesh is ranked 148th out of the studied 157 countries. India and Singapore – although financially in a much better position – ranked 147 and 149 respectively.  

According to the report, the top three countries in the index are Denmark, Germany, and Finland.

In South Asia, three countries most-committed to reducing inequality are the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan—with Bangladesh falling among one of the three least-committed.    

The report said Bangladesh ranks 7th out of eight countries in the South Asian region, with Bhutan rounding off the list. India occupies the 6th position on the region’s index.

Among the eight countries, Bangladesh ranks 4th in taxation policies, and last in labour rights and wages.

Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said: “Simply put, inequality traps people in poverty. We see babies dying from preventable diseases in countries where healthcare budgets are starved for funding, while billions of dollars owed by the richest are lost to tax dodging. We’ve heard from women living on poverty wages and facing hunger, seeing none of the wealth they create. None of this is inevitable. Governments often act like they’re committed to fighting poverty and tackling inequality—this Index shows us if their words match their promises.”

Development Finance International Director Matthew Martin said: “What’s most striking is how clearly the Index shows us that combating inequality isn’t about being the wealthiest country or the one of the biggest economies. It’s about having the political will to pass and put into practice the policies that will narrow the gap between the ultra-rich and the poor. This Index clearly lets us see who’s doing that and who’s not.”

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