Budget and the housing sector
Tasmiah Nuhiya Ahmed, working in Bangladesh Institute of Law and Inetrnational Affaiars (BILIA) as Law Research Officer. She is an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh: The National Budget for the FY 2018-2019 is going to be placed before the parliament by the first week of this month, June. People all over the country are rightfully eager to know how the budget would look like, how it ought to be etc.
Like any other country in the world, the housing sector plays vital roles both in the context of the economy of Bangladesh and serving the fundamental human right of shelter. Beyond providing physical shelter, housing may have significant impact on the lives of the dwellers in terms of skills enhancement, income generation, increased security, health, self-confidence and human dignity. In most regions, housing has the potential of becoming an engine of economic growth because of its high yield on invested resources, a high multiplier effect, and a host of beneficial forward and backward linkages in the economy.
Apart from providing physical shelter, housing may have significant impact on the lives of the dwellers in terms of skills enhancement, income generation, increased security, health, self-confidence and human dignity. Bangladesh, like many other developing countries, faces an acute shortage of affordable housing both in the urban and rural areas.
Given all these housing sector has not been adequately valued in our national budget ever and as a result this sector could not flourish the way it could if it had been given sufficient opportunities. However, this is also true that this sector has experienced considerable growth in past few decades. With a rising population and increasing housing demand, apartment culture has grown up in Dhaka penetratingly. During the last decade, the total volume of Real Estate, Renting and Business service sector increased every year which implies a positive growth in the sector every year. But, compared to overall GDP growth, this sector expanded at a slower rate. That is why in overall GDP the contribution of this sector has a downward trend.
Government Accountability towards Development of Housing Sector
The Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh under Article 15 provides that it shall be a fundamental responsibility of the State to attain, through planned economic growth, a constant increase of productive forces and a steady improvement in the material and cultural standard of living of the people, with a view to securing to its citizens, the provision of the basic necessities of life, including food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care (emphasized).
The government is constitutionally committed to ensure shelter for all the citizens of this country.
Vision of Bangladesh
Government of Bangladesh announced a vision 2021 aiming to achieving mid income status by the golden jubilee year of independence, which will require functional democracy, accountable government, responsible media and civil society. All sectors will require major infrastructure projects development.
Bangladesh Vision 2021 aims for ensuring guaranteed protection of human rights and the rule of law. Right to shelter is one of the fundamental human
rights. Making shelter available to all is increasingly becoming a significant challenge in Bangladesh. The reality in Bangladesh is that a large portion of the population still lives below the poverty line and are deprived of habitable shelter along with other basic services. Bangladesh, like many other developing countries faces an acute shortage of affordable housing both in the urban and rural areas (Md. Maksudur Rahman Sarker, 2011). Moreover, housing affordability is being eroded by poor land administration policies, which have resulted in very high land prices that make urban housing prohibitive for lower-income groups; and in infrastructure that is inadequate for expansion into peri-urban and rural areas. There is no active secondary market for real estate, mainly because of the high transfer taxes and an uninterrupted long-term increase in land prices.
Vision 2021 also provides for ensuring the democratic institutions work effectively, the role of the civil society as a monitoring and pressure group will be important. The participation of a wide range of citizens irrespective of income levels, religion, ethnicity, gender and age must be ensured in all civil society initiatives.
Vision 2021 also provides for access to productive asset opportunities for the property-less and marginalized groups One possible solution to growing inequality and increasing poverty is to restructure the economic system to make it possible for all to become owners of capital. Asset ownership is yet to become a universal and fundamental human right. The deprived suffer from an insufficiency of productive assets, which limit their capacity to participate competitively in the market economy.