Poverty levels expected to rise – WB
Sri Lanka’s poverty levels are expected to rise from 8.9 per cent in 2019 (last year) to 13 per cent in 2020, the World Bank’s (WB’s) Country Director for Sri Lanka, Faris Hadad-Zervos, said yesterday (21).
The WB’s poverty cut-off mark is US$ 3.20 (Rs 583.49) per person, per day.
This implies that about 890,000 more people would become newly poor and many of them from the poorest areas in Sri Lanka. This is a significant setback that would imply a reversal of more than five years’ worth of progress in improving welfare, Hadad-Zervos said.
“We are working closely with the Government of Sri Lanka in three ways to reverse the rising tide of poverty brought on by the COVID-19 crisis,” he said. They are by protecting the poor and the vulnerable, investing in agriculture and food security, and investing in people, he said.
“One critical success will be the creation of the central online portal, a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all the welfare programmes to better identify the needs of poorer households, reduce overlaps, eliminate leakages, and make it easier for the Government to deliver rapid assistance to those in need,” he said.
Meanwhile, the WB supported ‘Agriculture Sector Modernisation Project’ and ‘Climate-Smart Irrigated Agriculture Project’ are helping to innovate agriculture by inter-cropping big onions within mango orchards, growing cassava in village clusters, and cultivating hybrid chilli seeds in polytunnels. Farmers in 11 Districts are receiving support, including knowledge in climate-smart agriculture practices, said Hadad-Zervos.
(PA and SRM)