Speakers at the roundtable on “Local Government Engineering Department: Problems of Governance and Way Forward” stressed on promoting governance, reducing corruption and political interference in LGED for infrastructural development at rural level. TIB organised the roundtable on 21st July at the CIRDAP Auditorium. Chaired by Mr M Hafizuddin Khan, Member, TIB board of Trustees, the roundtable was attended by Dr Tofail Ahmed, Local Government Expert and Dr Salahuddin M Aminuzzaman, Professor, Department of Public Administration, Dhaka University as Discussants. Dr Iftekharuzzaman, Executive Director, TIB moderated the session. Mr Shahzada M Akram, Senior Programme Manager and Nahid Sharmin, Deputy Programme Manager, Research & Policy, TIB jointly presented findings of a study conducted by TIB on LGED.
The Study revealed that despite many positive initiatives and subsequent achievements, LGED, is unable to perform at expected level. It identified political interference; ministry’s unnecessary intrusion; lack of proper monitoring by Controller General of Accounts (CGA), Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED); political and market instability and delay in project implementation contributing to its lower performance. According to the study, contractors are forced to pay from 8.5% to 10.50% of the total bill as bribe which forces them to use low quality materials in projects. The study also revealed a number of irregularities including misuse of LGED assets like vehicles and logistics for personal interest; irregularities relating to project development and implementation; backdoor negotiations with contractors and withdrawal of bills etc.
The study made 15 recommendations to make LGED effective and accountable to rural people. The recommendations include amendment of laws to restrain members of the parliament from interfering in project activities, motivation for LGED officials for achievements as well as punishment for corruption, effective internal and IMED monitoring of projects and above all curbing of party and political interference over LGED.