Tue, 2014-05-27 10:31 — admin
Bangladesh, May 26, 2014: Allocation of budget in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) experienced a declining trend over the last four years. The allocation in the sector was merely 2.4 per cent of the total budget in fiscal 2010-11, which deplorably came down to only 1.2 per cent in fiscal 2013-14. Prof Dr Abul Barkat, chief adviser of Human Development Research Centre (HDRC), disclosed the figure while presenting research findings on allocation and utilisation of WASH budget in recent years at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU) in the city on Saturday.
International NGO ‘WaterAid’ and HDRC jointly organised the press briefing where the DU professor Barkat demanded an equitable and inclusive WASH budget, which is feasible in terms of financial implication, with a view to minimizing the rural-urban disparity.
Although the ‘urban versus rural’ disparity in budget allocation has slightly been minimised in current fiscal, it is not equitable yet, said Barkat.
At present, the ratio of allocation between urban and rural is 69:31, he said adding that the allocation in coastal areas is disproportionately low, only one-fifth of the urban allocation.
Government investment in coastal areas is stuck at a very limited budgetary allocation despite incremental salinity infestation in drinking water, which results in severe water and sanitation crisis for poor and marginal people and also impedes overall national development, he said.
Findings shows, WASH budget allocation in last five years was heavily urban biased. In contrast, disadvantaged and hard-to-reach areas like char, haor, hill-tracts and coastal belt have not received adequate attention from the policymakers. These pockets did not get proper share of the national WASH budget.
To overcome this situation, Dr Barkat opined for allocating a regional based WASH budget in the next fiscal.
He proposed for increasing the per capita WASH budget up to Tk 214 in the upcoming budget from the existing Tk 171.
Dr Md Khairul Islam, country representative of WaterAid Bangladesh, emphasised on adequate budgetary allocation for implementing ‘National Strategy for Water and Sanitation Hard-to-Reach Areas of Bangladesh 2012’, especially for the coastal areas.
Sardar Arif Uddin, director of Policy and Advocacy, was also present in the conference. (Source: The Independent)