WASH budget allocation in the National Budget 2018-19
Distinguished researchers, civil society representatives and WASH sector networks made the case for more equitable budgetary allocation for WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) today at Dhaka Reporters Unity.
At a joint press conference held by WaterAid, UNICEF, PPRC, FANSA, WSSCC,B, FSM Network, Sanitation and Water for All, and WASH Alliance, speakers shared how progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) would be difficult to achieve without ensuring clean water, improved sanitation and hygiene for all.
According to an analysis by Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC), supported by WaterAid and UNICEF, the government has made commendable progress on WASH financing, with allocations having risen to Taka 65.09 billion in 2017-18 from Taka 25.63 billion in 2007-08. However, the relative growth in WASH allocation over the last six years is only 3.3% - a disproportionately low figure compared to the substantial growth of GDP and the national budget during this time.
Moreover, the analysis shows geographical inequality in WASH budgeting, within cities and towns receiving most of the funding at the expense of rural, char, hilly and coastal areas, despite acute needs.
Eminent Economist and Chairman of PPRC, Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman, also stated that WASH allocation and expenditure trends show consistent under-utilisation of allocation, indicating a need for improved capacity and monitoring of expenditure.
Concluding the press conference, the WASH sector networks jointly put forward the following recommendations:
- Spatial inequities in WASH allocations have to be addressed as a priority to realise Goal 6, with special emphasis on rural and lagging regions.
- Neglected issues such as faecal sludge management and hygiene need to be funded adequately.
- There is a need to allocate funds for awareness programme on FSM and hygiene, to be undertaken in partnership with Paurashavas/city corporations and community/civic groups.
- Strong monitoring, supervision and coordination of WASH services in line with the SDG 6 indicators is needed
- Public Money and Budget Management Act, 2009 mandates Ministry of Finance to make an economic code-wise quarterly submission to the Parliament on progress of all projects. This provision needs to be activated.
- Sector Development Plan (SDP) for Water Supply and Sanitation Sector (2011-2025) remains largely on paper. Immediate and proper actions are needed to implement the plan within its timeframe.
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The analysis report on WASH budget allocation 2017-18 can be downloaded at: http://goo.gl/B6AfN3