Economists, experts for separate budget for local govtStaff Correspondent
Economists and experts on Saturday said the government should introduce a separate budget for the local government to assist the elected representatives at grass-root level in implementing the development programmes in their areas smoothly.
They also said the government should reintroduce the commission for the local government financing.
‘The local government ministry has been getting around 3 per cent allocation of the annual development programme for the last 10-15 years.
But, the government should take steps to introduce a separate budget for the local government to resolve the financial problem the local bodies face,’ said Tofail Ahmed, a member of the now-defunct local government commission, at a discussion on development programmes under the local government organised by the Centre for Policy Dialogue at the CIRDAP auditorium in the capital.
Tofail, also a former professor of Public Administration at Chittagong University, said the local government division, however, received around 10 per cent of the ADP due to fund disbursement to the division by the other ministries.
‘So, there is no coordination in government financing in the local government sector,’ he said.
He also urged the government to re-establish the local government commission.
Rehman Sobhan, chairman of the CPD, chaired the discussion.
Rehman said the local government should be given controlling power on local resources including markets and water bodies so that they could earn locally.
The non-government organisations get direct financing support from the various types of institutions, but the local government has no such scope, he said.
Journalist Muhammad Jahangir said the government should strengthen the local government system for giving the democratic system a firm footing.
He said, ‘The local government election should be held on the basis of political consideration so that the political parties can directly nominate their candidates. In this way, transparency and accountability will be established.’
M Shakhawat Hossain, former election commissioner, said the election commission had held meetings with 16 political parties before the upazila parishad election but no parities wanted the election at that time.
After the election, the government made the members of parliament as advisers to the upzilla chairmen and then complexities emerged, he said.
Selina Hayat Ivy, mayor of Narayanganj City Corporation, presented the key paper at the discussion.
Selina said the government should take steps to make a permanent commission for the local government.
The commission will make policies and put forward suggestions for the development of the local government, she said.
She said, ‘A separate budget for the local government alongside with the national budget is needed to strengthen the fiscal support in this arena.’
Debapriya Bhattacharya, distinguished fellow of the CPD, moderated the discussion.
Debapriya said that they would submit the suggestions of the discussants to the concern ministries including the local government ministry.
Central SUJAN secretary Bodiul Alam Majumder, former commerce minister Amir Khasru Mahmood Chowdhury, local government division secretary Abu Alam Md Shahid Khan, Municipal Association of Bangladesh president Azmat Ullah Khan addressed at the discussion, among others.
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