Micro-loan numbers debated in Bangladesh

DHAKA, Bangladesh, Jan. 30 -- The Microcredit Summit Campaign said more than 10 million people in Bangladesh have been lifted out of poverty by small business loans.

Some disagree with the report that credits micro-loans with lifting the income of so many above $1.25 per day, which designates the poverty level in the country nestled into a corner of northeast India.

The British Broadcasting Corp. reported Saturday that the Microcredit Summit Campaign based its findings on a survey of 4,000 households conducted by the Economic Research Group in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman of PKSF, which supplies funds for micro-credit loans, said 7 percent of those who received loans managed to rise out of poverty.

But Alun Doran, a finance director at Oxfam said, "Secure savings are the preferred financial instrument rather than credit."

"In this latest study, only 10 percent of people have moved up, leaving the other 90 percent where they are. We cannot conclude that a whole lot has been achieved," he said.