Today 29 October 2023, the Honourable Minister, Ministry of Planning Mr. M. A. Mannan MP unveiled the ‘National WASH Accounts 2020’ report for the first time in Bangladesh to track overall spending trends in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector. Dr. Shahnaz Arefin, NDC, Secretary, Statistics and Informatics Division, Ministry of Planning, and Mr. Mustakim Billah Faruqui, Additional Secretary, Local Government Division were present as Special Guests in the publication event.
Honourable Director General of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics Mr. Mohammed Mizanur Rahman presided over the event. Dr. Khairul Islam, Regional Director-South Asia, WaterAid and Hasin Jahan, Country Director, WaterAid Bangladesh joined as an honourable Guests. Focal Point and Deputy Director of the National Wash Accounts development programme of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics Mr. Alamgir Hossen presented the main features of the ‘National Wash Accounts 2020’ report.
Representatives from various public and private institutions and development aid organizations attended the program. In addition to academicians, researchers, journalists, there were officials from the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics and WaterAid Bangladesh.
Honourable Minister, Ministry of Planning, Mr. Mr. M. A. MannanMP reiterated the government’s commitment to end poverty, ensure good health for all, gender equality, climate, nutrition and food security, decent employment and quality education as well as access to safe and affordable safe water and sanitation for all to achieve SDG 6 by 2030. He reassured that the Government of Bangladesh is committed to making progress in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector. He also said that as part of achieving the SDG, the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics will continue to regularly update the ‘National Wash Accounts’ in the future to develop evidence-based planning and policies in the WASH sector as well as increase transparency and accountability in the WASH sector.
According to the 2020 report of ‘National WASH Accounts’, in 2020, WASH sector expenditure was2.18 percent of the total GDP of the country. Bangladesh spent an average of Tk 11,574 per household per year on WASH (i.e., Tk. 1,502 on water; Tk. 1,985 on sanitation; and Tk. 8,087 on hygiene). Which is 4.3 percent of the citizens annual household income. Distribution of household WASH expenditure by income as found that households with low income and living in impoverished conditions in both urban and rural areas spent a large portion of their income on WASH.
Taking these data into consideration, all concerned including the government is expected to be able to take planning and funding initiatives to ensure safe water for backward people in cities and rural areas in the future, believed the participants of the event.
In her speechDr. Shahnaz Arefin, NDC, Secretary, Department of Statistics and Informatics Division, Ministry of Planning highlighted that the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics under the Department of Statistics and Informatics Division as the national statistical agency to ensure supply of required data and insights for policy-makers, planners, researchers, educators and other stakeholders. Following the request of the Local Government Division, BBS and WaterAid Bangladesh with the technical support of WHO and UNICEF,successfully followed the ‘TrackFin’ guidelines for the first time formulated the National Wash Accounts in Bangladesh for proper planning, policy-making and evidence-based development planning.
Mr. Mustakim Billah Faruqui, Additional Secretary, Local Government Division said that one of the goals of the government is to ensure sustainable management and availability of water and sanitation for all by 2030 as per SDG 6 target. Ensuring proper allocation and expenditure of resources has been a challenging issue as there is no known pattern of private, public and other institutional expenditure in proper planning in this sector.
Dr. Khairul Islam, Regional Director-South Asia, WaterAidsaid that in order to face various challenges of proper planning of WASH sector, and to determine household-wise personal expenditure in National WASH Accounts, apart from taking primary data, institution-wise survey has also been conducted. Integrated ‘National Wash Accounts’ have been prepared by combining primary data with secondary data. The first-of-its-kind benchmark initiative will enhance capacity for evidence-based forward-looking planning by identifying trends in WASH spending and tracking funding status in the sector.
Hasin Jahan, Country Director, WaterAid Bangladesh expressed her strong optimism that through the formulation and adoption of National Wash Accounts, and the formulation and implementation of an integrated development plan by the government, relevant development partners, local government institutions, domestic and international development agencies to ensure universal WASH services will be facilitated. It will be possible to accelerate the current development trend of the WASH sector by ensuring sustainable and equitable management of water resources with appropriate financing, achieving the SDG 6, as targeted.