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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 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

  • 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
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
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
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.