The poverty rate in Bangladesh fell by 1.3 percentage points to 20.5 per cent in the fiscal year (FY) 2018-19, official statistics showed on Tuesday.
In the previous FY2018, the poverty rate was estimated at 21.8 per cent by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).
After a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) presided over by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the day, Planning Minister MA Mannan told reporters that the poverty rate fell to 20.5 per cent in the last fiscal year from 21.8 per cent in the previous fiscal year.
Besides, the extreme poverty rate in Bangladesh also dropped to 10.5 per cent in the FY 2019 from 11.3 per cent in the previous FY2018, the minister said.
The estimation was done based on the economic growth rate and its impact on the poverty situation in the country, BBS officials said.
According to the BBS, the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at a rate of 8.15 per cent in the last FY2019 from 7.86 per cent in the FY2018.
The Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) 2016 of the BBS estimated Bangladesh's poverty rate at 24.3 per cent among its total population and the extreme poverty rate at 12.9 per cent.
The Planning Minister said the ECNEC meeting approved nine projects at a combined cost of Tk 32.27 billion.
The entire cost would come from the government's internal resources, he said.
Of the nine projects, five are new and the four others are revised ones.
Among the new projects, the ECNEC approved the "Improvement of Sirajganj-Kazipur-Dhanut-Sherpur and Sirajganj (Bagbati)-Dhanut (Sonamukhi) Highway widening project" at Tk 9.88 billion, Construction of Bhairab Bridge over Bhairab River on Dighalia (Railgate)-Aruya-Gazirhat-Terokhada Road Project at Tk 6.17 billion; Extension and Modernisation of Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) project at Tk 2.40 billion.
The other endorsed projects are: Modernisation and construction of necessary structures of Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban, Jatiya Sangsad Sadashya Bhaban and MP Hostel project at Tk 2.34 billion; Installation of premix kernel machine and laboratory and construction of infrastructure to ensure nutrition in food grains project at Tk 667.8 million.
The four revised projects are: Ashrayan-3 (for construction of houses for forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals in Bhasanchar of Hatiya upazila under Noakhali and necessary security infrastructure for the island) (1st revision) project at an additional cost of Tk 7.83 billion; Sheikh Kamal IT training and incubation centre (2nd revision) at Tk 2.28 billion; Reinstallation and upgradation of level-crossing gates of the east zone of Bangladesh Railway at Tk 239.1 billion, and Re-installation and upgradation of level-crossing gates of the west zone of Bangladesh Railway project at Tk 444.4 billion.
After the revision on Tuesday, the cost of the Ashrayan-3 project rose to Tk 30.95 billion from the original cost of Tk 23.12 billion, and the Sheikh Kamal IT training and incubation centre project cost stood at Tk 5.33 billion against the original cost of Tk 3.05 billion.
Besides, the cost of re-installation and upgradation of level-crossing gates of the East Zone of Bangladesh Railway project increased to Tk 1.04 billion from Tk 805.9 million in the first revision. The project cost of re-installation and upgradation of level-crossing gates of the West Zone of Bangladesh Railway rose to Tk 922.8 billion from the original cost of Tk 478.4 million.
Ministers, Planning Commission members, and high officials of the ministries and division concerned were present at the ECNEC meeting.
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