The budgetary allocation of these 22 ministries in FY18 was Tk1,66,000 crore which later declined by 21.16% to Tk1,37,000 crore
Budget allocation for youth development in the country is negligible, said discussants in a pre-budget dialogue, expressing apprehension about a bleak future if adequate investment was not made in this direction.
ActionAid Bangladesh and Economic Reports’ Forum (ERF) jointly organized the event titled ‘Investing on Young People: What Does the Budget reflect?' at ERF auditorium in the capital on Tuesday.
Asjadul Kibria, planning editor of the Financial Express, presented a paper on youth budget mentioning that according to the current governance structure in Bangladesh, 22 ministries were involved in different processes and development of youth in terms of decision-making, cross-cuttings issues and direct implementation of projects at the grassroots levels.
The budgetary allocation of these 22 ministries in FY18 was Tk1,66,000 crore which later declined by 21.16% to Tk1,37,000 crore. At the same time, original national budget of Tk4,00,000 crore declined by 7.81% to Tk3,72,000 crore in FY18.
He said unemployment was the biggest concern for the young people as 10.6% of the total youth population were unemployed.
Skills development was the key to addressing the problem, he suggested.
Cumulative allocation of Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ministry of Expatriate’s Welfare and Overseas Employment and Ministry of Industries are less than 1.0% of the national budget. In FY19, total allocation for these ministries was only 0.47% of the national budget.
Development budget comprises less than 10% of ministry budget for Ministry of Social Welfare and Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and less than 50% for Ministry of Health and Family Welfare respectively.
Mustafa K Mujeri, executive director of Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM), said that young people were not involved in the overall budget structure and did not have the opportunity to place their concern.
Also a former director general of BIDS, he warned about bad consequences in case of failure in youth development in the country.
BGMEA President Rubana Huq said: “Our budget and overall activities are not youth-friendly. As a result, they do not fell inspired to do any work. Our education or development structure is not conducive to their innovative power.”
A critical thing for young-people’s health related issue is sexual and reproductive health and rights but challenge was to increase awareness about it among youths at the grassroots level including rural economy. Budgetary allocation is very critical in this regard.
ERF and ActionAid recommended enhancing the share of education budget to at least 20% of the national budget, more focus on skills development and rigorous training, implementing the election manifesto, encouraging young people to learn more about budget and institutional capacity building both in administration and human resource.
The dialogue was moderated by ActionAid Bangladesh country director Farah Kabir. Member of parliament Nahim Razzaq, ERF president Saif Islam Dilal and secretary SM Rashidul Islam among others, were also present at the event.