Local Governance in Bangladesh:
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Local Governance in Bangladesh: Issues and Agenda of Governance and Reforms Dr. Salahuddin Aminuzzaman Professor, Dept. of Public Administration UNIVERSITY OF DHAKA saminuzzaman@yahoo.com. Background. Local government has long historical lineage in Bangladesh (1870's to date).

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Local Governance in Bangladesh:Issues and Agenda of Governance and Reforms Dr. Salahuddin AminuzzamanProfessor, Dept. of Public AdministrationUNIVERSITY OF DHAKAsaminuzzaman@yahoo.com


  • Local government has long historical lineage in Bangladesh (1870's to date).

  • Unfortunately there exist a greater level of “pessimism” about the role and potential of local government system

  • Mutual mistrust between Central and Local Government

Constitutional Provision of LG in Bangladesh

  • Article 9 – highlights “Local composed of elected representative… Special emphasis shall be given to peasants, workers and women” “

  • Article 11 – emphasis on “Effective participation by the people through their elected representatives in administration at all levels shall be ensured’.

  • Article 59 - narrates the broad functions of LG as: ‘administration and the work of public officers; the maintenance of public order; the preparation and implementation of plans relating to public services and economic development’.

  • Article 60 – provides power to impose taxes for local purposes, to prepare their budgets and to maintain funds’.

Major Issues of Local Government Reforms in Bangladesh

Functional Jurisdictions

  • There appears to be some overlapping of responsibilities between Union Parishad, Upazila and Pousrashava as well as ZillaParishads.

Weak Financial Resource Base

  • Lack of a clear inter-governmental fiscal transfer policy. There appears to be no clear rules for sharing selected tax bases;

  • Income from taxes, rates and fees generally yield very little revenue (due to political and social reasons).

  • Around 3 percent of ADP is allocated to LGs (!)

Weak Institutional Capacity of LGs

  • Overwhelming majority of the chairmen and members of LG units lack knowledge and understanding of the operational procedures and functions of these bodies.

  • To much responsibilities assigned to LG (UP--10 compulsory and 38 optional functions). It is huge task considering the managerial capacity and resource potential.

    Accountability and Transparency

  • Lack of consultative planning processes, open budget hearings and meetings, and disclosure of LG information

Centre – Local Relations

  • Need for more autonomy in planning and resource management

    Number of tiers

  • Necessity of number of tiers of Local Government is questioned.

    Interference of Members of Parliaments

  • Undue interference of the MPs. The local government bodies have generally been used as political mobilization platforms for the ruling parties.

  • Mutual mistrust with local level bureaucracy and LG representatives

  • Triangular tension : Between and MP, Local Bureaucracy, Local Representatives

Approach for Way forward

  • Need for a comprehensive Decentralization Policy in the light of the Constitution.

  • Constitutional review of the provision of having local governments at all tiers of administration.

    Constitute a permanent Local Government Commission (LGC) with appropriate powers and authority to look after the affairs of the LG including regulation, allocation of financial resources and performance monitoring and supervision etc.

    A pragmatic as well objective policy on Inter governmental fiscal transfer.

  • Local Government Act (related to UP/ PS / Upazila / ZilaParishads) should emphasis the process & practice of accountability, transparency and relationship

  • Scope and coverage of Central government and supervision needs to be reviewed and amended.

  • Examine the possibility of formulating an Integrated LG legislature covering all levels to get a complementary relationship between and among the levels of local bodies

  • A Comprehensive long term policy for capacity building needs to be developed

  • Involvement of local government as partners in the management of nationally-guided line ministries development programs.

  • Make provision to allow the Local Governments to generate/ borrow funds from external sources.

  • Efforts should be made to establish leadership forum for the local government elected representatives- As a platform for exchange and sharing of information and bilateral negotiation As a coordinating and potential capacity building body.


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