WASH sector networks in Bangladesh appealed, through a press conference in Dhaka on 24 June, for more equitable funding allocations in the proposed National Budget 2018-19.
The press conference, on Post Budget Reaction on WASH Allocation, was organized jointly by WaterAid, UNICEF Bangladesh, Power and Participation Research Center (PPRC), Freshwater Action Network – South Asia (FANSA), Sanitation and Water for All, Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) Network Bangladesh, WASH Alliance Bangladesh and WSSCC in Bangladesh, through National Coordinator Shah Md. Anowar Kamal.
Press conference speakers noted that the National Budget 2018-2019 has a large disparity in WASH financing for mega cities, city corporations and other rural and hard to reach areas. They highlighted that in the National Budget, 90% of the WASH allocation is for urban areas whereas only just more than 9% is for rural and hard to reach areas. The only positive was a small allocation increase for hill tract areas.
Considering the significant population and urbanisation growth in the last year, the increase of Tk 547 crore in the budget – about USD 65 million – in Local Government Division, or LGD, WASH allocation compared to 2017-18 appears to be quite insignificant, they said.
Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman, an eminent economist, said regional discrimination has increased over the last three years and if the trend continues, it will not be possible to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals nationally by 2030. However, compared to the substantial GDP growth and the national budget over the last seven fiscal years, relative growth in allocation for WASH services is disproportionately low, the speakers said. Dr. Rahman urged the government to increase allocation in the national budget in order to meet WASH service needs in rural and remote areas such as chars and haors as well as in small and medium-sized towns, as recommended in the 7th Five-Year Plan and the Sector Development Plan of the LGD.
The speakers stressed the need for creating a budget code for WASH services highlighting priority components of WASH.
“In addition to Dr. Rahman, the Chairperson of PPRC, press conference participants included Representative of UNICEF Bangladesh Mr. Adnan Ibne Hakim, Mr. Alok Majumder, Country Coordinator of SIMAVI and Bangladesh WASH Alliance; Mr. Yakub Hossain, FANSA Convener; Mohammad Abdul Wazed, Formar Director General of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Dr. Dibalok Singha, WASH Practitioner, Md. Abdus Shaheen, Country Program Manager of WSUP, Mr. Shah Md. Anowar Kamal, National Coordinator of WSSCC Bangladesh; Mr. Mohammad Zobair Hasan, SWA Steering Committee member; and Mr. Faysol Abbas, Advocacy and Communication Manager of WaterAid Bangladesh”
To read a press report, click here: https://www.thedailystar.net/city/allocate-more-funds-speakers-1594864
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