The number of bank accounts with over Tk 1 crore in deposits has continued to grow even during the Covid outbreak, with banks adding 10,051 such accounts in 2020.
Bangladesh Bank data showed that the number of bank accounts with over Tk 1 crore in deposits increased to 93,890 as of December 2020 from 83,839 as of December 2019.
Deposits in such accounts rose by Tk 27,701 crore to Tk 5,95,286.11 crore in 2020 from Tk 5,67,585.19 crore in 2019.
The rapid surge in wealth accumulation by a small segment of people happened at a time when a large portion of the country’s people was struggling hard for survival and many of them entered into poverty afresh during the Covid-hit 2020.
When rich people became richer, the financial condition of hardcore poor who are allowed to open bank accounts with Tk 10 as deposit deteriorated in the pandemic-hit year, the BB data showed.
The deposits in the accounts which are generally opened with Tk 10 as deposits to receive the government’s assistance dropped by 80.82 per cent to Tk 202.19 crore at the end of December 2020 from Tk 365.59 crore a year ago.
‘It is not a good sign but it is a global phenomenon where income inequality is rising and we are observing the same situation in Bangladesh as well,’ Policy Research Institute executive director Ahsan H Mansur told New Age on Sunday.
‘Poor are becoming poorer as the government has not extended significant support to them and they do not have money in their hands,’ said Mansur, also the BRAC Bank chairman.
Although the Bangladesh government does not have capacities like the governments of the UK and US, it could have done better within its existing capacity for people, he said.
Mansur said that the government could still take measures to support people as the Covid-centric restrictions were still in place and people, especially the low-income and poor people, were struggling hard to survive.
The recovery from the Covid-induced economic shocks has so far been in a way where some people are becoming richer and the majority were facing income erosion, he said.
Across the globe, the volume of wealth of billionaires has increased significantly and it is an outcome of the coronavirus crisis as rich people usually become richer when any economic recession takes place, the economist said.
As per the Bangladesh Bank data, the number of bank accounts with over Tk 1 crore in deposits was 19,636 in March 2009.
Since 2009, deposits in such bank accounts have increased by more than seven times or Tk 5,95,278 crore till 2020 from Tk 79,866 crore.
The number of such accounts was only five in 1972 and 47 in 1975.
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