No real progress excluding physically challenged people

Seven percent of the total population of the country are now physically challenged, which is 1,66,578 in number but without doing wellbeing to them, the country cannot progress ahead. 

Social welfare minister Nuruzzaman Ahmed came up with the comment while speaking as chief guest at a launching program titled “Inclusion Work” organised by ADD International, BBC Media Action and Sightsavers at BRAC Centre Inn in the capital on Tuesday. 

“The government has allotted Tk 5052 crore for social safety program. Within 2021, the government has plan to bring all helpless people of the country to bring under social welfare program”- the minister said.  He said, in the competitive labour market, entrance of young people with disabilities is a big challenge for the country and it becomes even more challenging when they lack adequate and appropriate skills, knowledge and information required for employment, especially in the formal sectors.  Some initiatives by both the government and private sectors are contributing to lessen the number of barriers, particularly innovative programme like this one will help to create formal employment opportunities for youth with disabilities, he added. 

The government is committed to attain the targets of SDGs and no one will leave behind. The ministry will extend all possible support to this programme and where necessary, will play a catalytic role to coordinate with other ministries, he further said. 

Sightsavers country director Khondoker Ariful Islam said, the country is losing 1.7 percent GDP due to the exclusion of people with disabilities from the labour market and the cost of exclusion, due to foregone income from a lack of schooling and employment both for people with disabilities and their caregivers, is estimated at $1.2 billion annually. 

About the programme, it was learnt that, it will create and test innovative approaches to improve the long term economic inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace on an equal basis with others.