Bangladesh will develop a universal pension scheme

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has directed that a system be devised to bring all citizens over 60 years of age under the social security benefit scheme.

This is in line with the Awami League party’s election manifesto, which pledged to extend welfare benefits to all workers, from both government and private institutions.

The decision to set up such a system follows Thursday’s (17.02.2022) discussion between the Prime Minister and her advisers on bringing senior citizens and the poor under the benefit system, as well as setting up an institution to oversee the entire process.

In his 2016 budget speech, then Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhit raised the issue of including both public and private sectors in the pension scheme.

He said that only five per cent of the working population is involved in government work and receives benefits. While eight per cent of the remaining job holders receive gratuity allowances, others do not receive any benefits. Muhith noted that the number of elderly people in Bangladesh is increasing along with life expectancy while the elderly citizens are becoming more vulnerable to financial and social insecurity due to urbanisation.

He, therefore, called for a universal pension scheme to help them spend their last years of life peacefully.

The current retirement age for men and women in Bangladesh is 59. Bangladesh has no central institution to secure the verification and payment of pensions, which the authorities believe generates costs and is a source of abuse. The current law on benefits dates back to 1871 (and applies to sporadic cases) and 1974 (and applies to officials). A detailed elaboration of the topic in the presentation by Md. Azizul Alama from the Ministry of Finance.