Rural, urban inequality increased in WASH sector

In 2015-16 proposed national budget for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector allocation in the rural and urban inequality has increased by 8 percent compared to the previous fiscal year. Remote and disadvantaged wetlands, coast, tea gardens in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and specific projects for the disadvantaged population was not taken into consideration. The total budget allocated to this sector to near to zero. The national budget for water, sanitation and hygiene sector allocation last year of the current fiscal year, but reduced it to 1.64 per cent, which is 1.57 per cent less than in 2007-2008 WAand 0.03 percent of the total allocation.

On Saturday, June 13 2015 at a press conference held at Dhaka Reporters Unity, various development agencies, donor agencies and community representatives jointly attended the event who are working on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector specific projects. The organizations all vested their interest to increase allocation of WASH sector and reduce investment gap between urban and rural areas; proportionately demanded payment allocation.

Among the organizers of the national budget for the fiscal year 2015-16, The Head of Policy and Advocacy, Shamim Ahmed presented highlighting the comparative figures of the last 9 years of Wash allocation in the national budget. The representatives of the sectors working on water, sanitation and hygiene sector raised their issues through the adoption of specific projects to increase the allocation on city water, sanitation and hygiene sectors quickly to reduce the disparity in the allocation of a proportion of government allocations. Given the government’s commitment to implement international policy and adequate budgetary allocations to ensure remote and disadvantaged sectors of the implementation of the development plan, wash rights and long-term budgetary allocations to specific demands of this sector will also have to be addressed.

Speakers at the press conference noted, where the budget for 2015-16 fiscal year in the national budget allocated on average per-capita of BDT 617 and BDT338 for health and education, for water, sanitation and hygiene sector allocation per capita is only 293 BDT. However, with a vision 2021 in order to see the country become a middle income nation, allocation in the national budget will have to be balanced.

Network and other institutions on behalf of the organizers of the press conference was attended by the Human Development Research Center, Economist and Consultant, Abhijit Paddar; Dr Md. Khairul Islam, Country Representative of Water Aid, UNICEF Representative Monirul Alam; Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, Mohammad Anwar Kamal Shah; National Coordinator, Fresh Water Action Network South Asia, Yakub Hossain; Country Representative of the Bangladesh Wash Alliance, Alok Majumdar; End Water Poverty Representative Mohammad Jubair Hossain; Bangladesh Water Integrity Network Coordinator Joseph Halder, Chief of the NGO Forum for Public Health Advocacy.