ECONOMYNEXT – Although extreme poverty is low in Sri Lanka and continues to fall, a large share of the population subsists on little more than the extreme poverty line, the World Bank has said.
“Despite the fast poverty reduction, there remain areas with significant poverty,” the bank noted in its latest development update.
“Moderate poverty remains high,” it said, noting that, in 2012/13, nearly 15 percent of the population and a quarter of the estate sector lived on less than $3.10 per day.
Pockets of poverty persist in the north, east, estate sector and Moneragala district where equality of opportunities in terms of access to services and linkages to the labor market are weaker, the report said.
“Spending on social assistance declined in real terms between 2004 and 2014, and suffers from inefficient targeting,” the World Bank said.
“The decline in social assistance comes as consumption growth became markedly less pro-poor between 2009/10 and 2012/13.”
The report also said other challenges also remain, including high rates of malnutrition, low rates of female labor force participation and a rapidly ageing population.
Extreme poverty remains low in Sri Lanka, as the $1.90 poverty rate fell half a percentage point from 2.4 percent to 1.9 percent between 2009/10 and 2012/13.
The real per capita consumption of the bottom 40 percent increased 2.2 percent annually between 2006/07 and 2012/13.
Improved living standards is reflected in rising asset ownership, declining shares of food consumption, and a rise in reported household per capita income among the poor, the World Bank said.(COLOMBO, July 13, 2017)