Pakistantoday.com.pk/ Pak’s richest 20% capture 45% of monthly income: Oxfam

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SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)

Rising inequality could set the fight against poverty back by decades, Oxfam warned Thursday as it published “Even it Up: Time to End Extreme Inequality Report” showing that the number of billionaires worldwide has more than doubled since the financial crisis.

The report details how the richest people in the world have more money than they could ever spend while hundreds of millions live in abject poverty without essential health care or basic education.

It would take the world’s richest man, Mexico’s Carlos Slim and his family, 220 years to spend all the money at $1m a day, while it would take Bill Gates 218 years. On the other hand, since the financial crisis, at least a million mothers have died in childbirth due to lack of basic health services.

In countries around the world, prosperity is not trickling down to ordinary people, but up to those at the top, whose exceptional wealth is growing ever more rapidly, the report highlights. The richest 85 people – who have the same wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population– saw their collective wealth increase by $668 million per day between 2013 and 2014. That’s almost half a million dollars every minute.

On the other hand, more people are pushed below poverty line which shows poor people are not getting a fairer deal.

Pakistan has no different story; a boy born in a rural area in Pakistan to a mother and father from the poorest 20 percent of the population has only a 1.9 percent chance of ever moving to the richest 20 percent. For the poorest 20 percent of families in Pakistan, sending all children to Low-Fee-Private-Schools would cost approximately 127 percent of each household’s income.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Kaiser Bengali said that we have created two Pakistanis; there is a Pakistan of ‘ashraafiya’ and the Pakistan of the ‘awaam’. While poverty creates misery, inequality causes anger and is at the root of militancy and terrorism.

Oxfam Country Director Arif Jabbar Khan said that in Pakistan, the richest 20 percent capture nearly 45 percent of monthly income, whilst the bottom 20 percent take home just 8 percent. The child stunting rate is two and half times higher among the children of bottom 20% of the population than top 20 percent.

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