ActionAid Bangladesh believes that to reap the benefit of the demographic dividend Bangladesh currently going through, it is crucial to start investing on the young women and men to ensure their empowerment.

In this context, AAB and Institute of Informatics and Development (IID) jointly carried out a research report titled ‘Status and Public Expenditure on Youth Responsive Public Services and Employment-oriented Skills Development’ focusing on the trend of public resource allocation for young people.

The report was shared on 21 May 2019 at ERF auditorium in the capital at an event titled ‘Investing on Young People: What Does the Budget reflect?’.

In the event, the discussants said, budget allocation for young people’s development and ensuring their employment in the country is negligible.

Asjadul Kibria, planning editor of the Financial Express, presented a paper where he mentioned skill develop as the key to address unemployment problem, the biggest concern for young people.

The budgetary allocation of the 22 ministries related to youth development 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.

He also added, 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.

Member of parliament Nahim Razzaq, Executive Director of Institute for inclusive Finance and Development (InM) Mustafa K Mujeri, BGMEA President Rubana Huq, ActionAid Bangladesh Country Director Farah Kabir, ERF President Saif Islam Dilal spoke in the programme.

The speakers stressed on the need of involving young people in the overall budget structure so that they can place their demand and concerns.

The budget has to be youth-friendly and more investment has to be ensured to encourage their innovation, said BGMEA President Rubana Huq.  

Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) is a critical issue for young people but there remains serious lack of awareness about this issue among them, specially at the grassroots level. Budgetary allocation need to focus on this, said the speakers.

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.