Social workers, economists and development workers apprehended a massive misappropriation of aid if traditional channel of local government representatives to be appointed.
They requested the government to appoint micro lenders who have experience and network across the country.
The honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina allocated over Tk 72,000 crore to support Bangladeshi people from the pandemic.
“The government should involve the micro lenders in handing out cash to millions of Coronavirus-hit villagers, self employed and the industrial workers,” Rasheda K Chowdhury, former advisor to caretaker government told Business Mirror Monday.
She said it is a culture of our society that local leaders embezzle government relief themselves, so why should the government appoint them again those are elected in a voter-less election, she added.
“Union Chairman have long history of misappropriation since independence and no measures could be stopped them from theft of relief,” Aminur Rashid, a social worker said.
The socials workers have requested the government to give the aid delivery work to Bangladesh Army instead of civil administration or local government representatives.
For ages successive governments have been using elected local councillors and the district administration to reach food aid to the poor during major natural disasters.
“But time and again we have seen that the model is seriously flawed. It makes some good news initially as these events are heavily covered by mufassil journalists. But it lacks oversight and accountability. As a result, the aid meant for the hard core poor or the hardest-hit people is pretty often diverted to ruling party men, well connected individuals and influential village elders.” A senior journalist working at a foreign agency told Business Mirror.
Most micro credit bank and societies operating in villages and industrial towns have years of experience and an unmatched nationwide reach. Together, the top five micro-lenders, Grameen Bank, Brac, Asha, TMSS and Jagoroni Chakra now cover each and every poor family in the country after working for more than four decades in rural areas and urban slums. They also have good idea about the financial condition of a villager or a sum dweller.
The government should use their hard-earned knowledge, expertise and network to reach out to the Coronavirus hit people. At least there will be minimum wastages and a much higher chance that the cash handout or food aid meant for the poor will reach the actual victims. And unlike the councillors, these lenders can be held to account. Let’s try something innovative.