POLITICAL PARTICIPATION FOR DEVELOPMENT EVALUATION IN SOUTH ASIA BANGLADESH SCENARIO M.A. MANNAN MP CHAIRMAN, PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE (PAC), BANGLADESH PARLIAMENT JULY 2013, COLOMBO, SRI LANKA
OBJECTIVES OF DEVELOPMENT EVALUATION “ First get your facts; then you can distort them at your leisure.” – Mark Twain = Facts are what counts = Distort- said in jest: Dead Serious Actually! Development evaluation enhances the quality of creative practice, increases sustainability; Strengthen implementation process = hence achieves ‘Value for Money’. It helps provide more effective & efficient services.
KEY INSTITUTIONS & THEIR ROLES IN MONITORING & EVALUATION IN BANGLADESH Bangladesh Parliament (Constitutional) Ministry of Finance ( Executive) Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED), Ministry of Planning (Executive) Anti-Corruption Commission (Independent ) Comptroller & Auditor General of Bangladesh (Constitutional Supreme Audit Institution, SAI)
ROLE OF THE COMPTROLLER & AUDITOR GENERAL IN SUPPORTING DEVELOPMENT EVALUATION IN BANGLADESH The constitution of Bangladesh envisages that the C&AG perform the functions of a permanent ‘watchdog’ in establishing public accountability in the Republic. The C&AG derives authority for exercising his functions from the constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh [Articles 127 to 132 and also the C&AG’s [ Additional Function’s] Act,1974. Complete operational Independence: 5 years or age 67 whichever comes first; Derives authority from various enactments since the British Colonial period. The important features of the legal mandate are: Access to all relevant information-Article 128  Absolute operational independence- Article 128 
PARLIAMENTARY MECHANISMS FOR MONITORING & EVALUATION IN BANGLADESH The ‘Constitution of Bangladesh’ and the ‘Rules of Procedure of Bangladesh Parliament’ provide elaborate mechanisms for ensuring financial accountability of the Government. Parliamentary Financial Oversight Committees are: A. Public Accounts Committee (PAC): (15 Members, Chair from Treasury, 2 Opposition Members) Article 76(1)(a) of the Constitution makes it mandatory for the Parliament to set up a Committee on Public Accounts, while the ‘Rules of Procedure of the Parliament’ specifies the roles and responsibilities of the PAC. The PAC examines the AG’s reports and endeavors to make the executive accountable to the Parliament and oversees whether the funds appropriated have been used for the purposes for which these were allocated, in an efficient and cost-effective manner, in other words, whether it achieves ‘Value-for-Money’.
B. Public Undertakings Committee (PUC): ( 10 Members- Chair from Treasury, 1 Member from opposition) The Committee reports to Parliament on irregularities and lapses of the public undertakings and recommend measures to free the institution from corruption and, if considered necessary, a part of its report in this respect may be sent to Government before the report is placed before Parliamentfor taking appropriate remedial measures. The major functions of the Committee are: (a) To examine the reports and accounts of the public undertakings; (b) To examine the reports, if any, of the Comptroller and Auditor-General on the public undertakings; (c) To examine, in the context of autonomy and efficiency of public undertakings, whether the affairs of the public undertakings are being managed in accordance with sound business principles and prudent commercial practices.
C) Estimates Committee (EC): ( 10 Members, Chair from Treasury, 2 Members from opposition) The main functions of the Committee are: (a) To report to Parliament about what economies, improvements in organization, efficiency or administrative reform, consistent with the policy underlying the estimates, may be effected in the public Undertakings it examines; (b) To suggest alternative policies in order to bring about efficiency and economy in financial management & administrative organization; (c) To examine whether the money is well spread within the limits of the policy implied in the estimates; and (d) To suggest the form in which the estimates shall be presented to the House.
Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) Bangladesh ACC was formed through an act promulgated on 23 February 2004 that came into force on 9 May 2004 replacing the former Bureau of Anti-Corruption (BAC). It works as a standing watchdog on corruption in the public sector by identifying hot spots and areas of vulnerabilities for targeted investigative and prosecution action, prevention and curative treatment beside preemptive intervention and advocacy. It helps to suppress corruption through effective and cumulative effects of its controlling and preventive efforts.
MINISTRY OF FINANCE The Ministry of Finance is responsible for state finance, including the state budget, taxation and economic policy in Bangladesh. It reports to the Parliament of Bangladesh. The main instrument of its activities is the annual Budget, which it must pass in the Parliament ( FY July-June)
Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED), Ministry of Planning IMED, is the central and apex organization of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh for monitoring and evaluation of the public sector undertakings. The Rules of Business of the government has allocated the following functions to the IMED: Monitoring and Evaluation of the implementation of development projects included in the Annual Development Program. Collection and compilation of project-wise data for preparing quarterly, annual and periodical progress reports for information of the President ,NEC, ECNEC, Ministries and other concerned. Rendering such advisory or consultancy services to Ministries/Agencies concerned on implementation of projects as and when necessary. Field inspection of projects for on the spot verification of implementation status and such other Co-ordination works. Submission of project inspection reports to the President and Ministers concerned when attention at such levels is considered necessary. Matters relating to Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU) & the Public Procurement Regulations, 2003.
CRITICAL GAPS & CHALLENGES The PAC/PUC needs strong support from OCAG and committee staff. The OCAG is not found adequately resourced and hence to date the OCAG concentrates on traditional audits-compliance and financial and the PAC is confined to discuss and recommend on those reports mostly. Sometimes questions arise regarding the quality of OCAG’s reports, except the issue-based and special reports where OCAG focuses on functional matters, as the reports are traditional ones and have little coverage that do not touch upon ‘macro aspects’ of the audited organizations. There is a delay in submission of audit reports too. As the PAC/ PUC relies largely on the information provided by the OCAG to assist in its work hence any shortcomings of OCAG’s information impedes the PAC/PUC in carrying out its functions. PAC/PUC secretariat was never found full fledged one equipped with required number of manpower and logistics. The existing staff seldom receive professional training and thus could not contribute to committee’s work not to speak of ‘research facilities/ work’ of PAC/ PUC. These two financial committees are always assisted by and mostly dependent on the OCAG officials. Lack of government responses, failure to implement the PAC recommendations and follow up of PAC/PUC recommendations are common allegations of all the PACs / PUCs.
KEY ACHIEVEMENTS The progress of Bangladesh in achieving MDGs is relatively higher compared to other LDCs in poverty reduction, girls' education till secondary cycle, child health, maternal health, basic sanitation and information technology. Present government of Bangladesh has adopted the 'Vision 2021' to eliminate some development traps, to come out of the LDC status and to graduate to a middle-income country. The country has reduced poverty and hunger impressively through higher domestic food production, expansion of non-farm activities and social safety net programs. A proper monitoring & evaluation culture will ensure value for money & achieve development goals in conformity with MDG.