Vol. 5 Num 27 Wed. June 23, 2004  

Exclusive industrial zone for women demanded

Speakers at a discussion yesterday urged the government to allocate fund in the FY 2004-05 budget for setting up a separate industrial estate for women entrepreneurs.

They also demanded holding pre and post-budget discussions with women groups to take their concerns into consideration in formulating and revising the national budget.

Kaniz Siddique, a professor of North South University, presented the keynote paper at the 'Post-budget discussion on Engendering National Budget -- Expectations and Realities' at the conference hall of Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies.

The discussion was organised by Policy Leadership and Advocacy for Gender Equality (Plage), a project of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs.

In her presentation, Kaniz Siddique demanded increasing of the ADP (Annual Development Programme) expenditure for reducing gender discriminations from 3.1 percent to 7 percent of the total budget.

About the proposed budget she said it lacks transparency as it does not specify the percentage of budgetary allocations devoted exclusively to reduce the existing gender disparities in the country.

"It is not clear from finance minister's budget speech what are the government plans for the women garment workers who may lose their jobs after quota phaseout," she added.

Participating in open discussion, Finance Secretary Zakir Ahmed Khan urged the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs to utilise the allocated money involving women related non-government organisations.

"We have already taken a plan for implementing a project titled 'one district one product' where women will get job opportunities," said Ferdous Ara Begum, joint secretary (development) of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide financial assistance to establish an office of the project in Dhaka, she added.