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Corruption increases poverty and injustice. Let's fight it together...now

 

Curb influence of MPs and ensure even distribution of power

 
 
 
 
Speakers at a TIB organised roundtable echoed with the recommendations of curbing influence of MPs over local government institutions (LGIs). They also urged for ensuring balance of power among public representatives and administration for its smooth functioning. These were among 18 other recommendations of a TIB conducted study that was presented at the round-table. It made an in-depth analysis of existing laws on LGIs; state of human resources; budget allocation; monitoring, evaluation of activities and audit of accounts; procurement process; use of logistics; role of parliamentary standing committees; planning and implementation of development projects; state of disclosure of information etc.
The round-table titled “Local Government Sector: Governance Challenges and the Way Forward” was held on 25th May 2014 at the BRAC Centre Inn Auditorium. Mr Mashiur Rahman Ranga, MP, Hon’ble State Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. Professor Zarina Rahman Khan, Deputy Chief of Party, Strengthening Democratic Local Governance; Dr Salahuddin M Aminuzzaman, Professor, Department of Public Administration, Dhaka University; Dr Tofail Ahmed, Local Government Expert discussed on the paper. Dr Iftekharuzzaman moderated the event and Mr M Hafizuddin Khan, Member, TIB Board of Trustees chaired the session. Ms Farhana Rahman, Programme Manager; Ms Nahid Sharmin, Deputy Programme Manager and Mr Md Rabiul Islam, Assistant Programme Manager, Research and Policy, TIB jointly presented the findings of the study.
 

 

 
 
 
According to the study, LGIs during 2009-2012 marked some successes including holding elections that resulted in elected representatives in 5375 LGIs out 5439 LGIs (97%; building 21310 kilometers of roads, 1822 meters of bridges and culverts and 791 Union Parishad complexes; training of 41370 public representatives and officials; rehabilitation of 98240 vulnerable women through different projects; projects for infrastructural development and improve livelihood of the indigenous and intruduction of online birth registration.

 

ADP must allocate additional 50-60 crore tk for each upazilla to bring qualitative changes in its governance system- Dr Salahuddin M Aminuzzaman

 


Despite these positive achievements, LGIs were not able to perform at desired level because of various governance challenges. Major challenges include full control of the central government, interference of MPs, lack of human resources (40% and 20% posts are respectively vacant in Municipalities and Zilla Parishads), Influence of government over recruitment process, bribery ranging from 1%-10% in project allocation and implementation, bribery ranging from 5000-80000 tk. in managing auditors at union and upazilla parishads and late disbursement of funds hindering implementation of development plans.
 
 
 
Commenting the research findings Professor Salahuddin said “ADP must allocate additional 50-60 crore tk for each upazilla to bring qualitative changes in its governance system”
Professor Zarina said “local level standing committees should create more space for citizens’ participation to make the LGIs more transparent and accountable”
The chief Guest said “The government is working with utmost sincerity to make the LGIs more pro-people and more research should be done to this end.” The ministry will seriously consider any such research findings and recommendations.” he added.
Other key recommendations of the study include empowering LGIs to select projects for infrastructural development; holding elections in pending LGIs; considering population, size and need along with the type of the institution in allocating resources; initiate e-procurement; digitalisation of tax system and display on citizen’s charter in every LGI and update it on regular basis.