Vol. 5 Num 921 Fri. December 29, 2006  

More salary-based jobs needed to cut poverty
Says Wahiduddin Mahmud

More salary-based jobs are needed to alleviate poverty, as self-employment through micro-finance is not enough, economist Wahiduddin Mahmud said yesterday.

He also said both the rich and poor receive either bank loans or microcredit, but there has also been a group whom he termed 'missing middle class', who has little access to loans.

If the 'missing middle class', who contributes to the economy to a great extent, gets loans facilities, productivity of their enterprises will also rise, leading to increase in wage-based jobs, he added.

Mahmud was addressing the concluding ceremony of a three-day training programme on poverty, microfinance and development. Institute of Micro-finance (InM), an independent research and training organisation, organised the training for media people.

Fakhruddin Ahmed, managing director of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), MA Baqui Khalily, executive director of InM, and Dr Sajjad Zohir, executive director of Economic Research Group, also addressed.

Wahiduddin Mahmud also said commercial banks and NGOs should also reach the 'missing middle class'.

When asked, Mahmud said transparency and accountability in transactions process are the major reasons behind success of microfinance in the country.

Fakhruddin Ahmed said PKSF is planning to encourage microfinance institutions to develop innovative products not just for loans, but also for other services such as micro insurance, money transfer and savings.

He said PKSF has lent Tk693 crore to microfinance institutions in 2006 and it plans to lend Tk 1400crore in 2007.

MA Baqui Khalily stressed the need for a strong regulatory authority and a standard interest rate for microfinance institutions.

He also recommended for expanding PKSF network.