Fri, 02 June 2023
The Daily Ittefaq

How Nagad is 'redefining' government disbursements

Update : 24 Mar 2023, 17:34

There was a time when disbursements of the social safety net allowances and education stipends were riddled with anomalies, with ghost beneficiaries, relatives of local public representatives and the non-poor getting into the list, leaving out many deserving people.

But mobile financial services (MFS) provider Nagad said the situation has now changed altogether after it digitalised the entire disbursement system and ensured transparency.

In 2021 and 2022, Nagad disbursed 75 percent of all the social safety net allowances, such as old-age allowance, widow allowance, allowance for the underprivileged with special needs and students with special needs.

Also, the MFS provider said before it entered an agreement with the Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) on December 13, 2020, the government had no other option but to halt primary stipend disbursements for a year owing to irregularities and a lack of transparency in the prior distribution system.

In 2021-22 fiscal, Nagad disbursed stipends among over 1.25 crore primary school children with "transparency and accuracy, bringing an end to numerous hassles that many guardians experienced before."

The MFS said in a few months it had completed disbursements of more than Tk4,500 to the accounts of students' mothers who easily got the funds.

Earlier, the government used to disburse primary education stipends as per the government-to-person (G2P) payment system issued by the Ministry of Finance. Now there is coordination between the Finance Division's G2P system and the DPE's integrated digital system for the stipend payout.

Students are registered on Nagad's digital platform using information from their birth certificates and mobile phone numbers alongside the NIDs of their guardians. So, once the stipends are disbursed, students' guardians instantly receive the funds with cash-out charges to their Nagad accounts.

Each pre-primary student now gets Tk75 in stipend per month.

First to fifth graders receive Tk150 each; two children from the same family get Tk300 a month. And sixth to eighth graders get Tk200; two children from the same family get Tk400 a month.

To check school dropouts and keep female students in classes, the government introduced primary stipends in 1999. It currently disburses stipends to 1.4 crore schoolchildren across the country.

Nagad Chief Commercial Officer Md Shihab Uddin Chowdhury said: "As part of our people-centric endeavours, we have digitalised disbursements of social protection allowances and stipends and ensured transparency."

"We have brought an end to all the irregularities that prevailed until we took the charge."

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