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Develop a national framework for projects implementation efficiency & governance: economists

Bangladesh Beyond
  • Updated on Wednesday, June 29, 2022
  • 116 Impressed

Develop a national framework for projects implementation, efficiency & governance: economists

 

 

Dhaka June 29 2022:

 

Implementation of Public Infrastructure Projects (PIP) in Bangladesh and ensuring good value for money remains as a major development, governance challenge for the government.

To do so, ensure adequate legal support through presence of a dedicated and permanent law cadre to deal with legal issues involving PIP implementation;

 

Develop a transparent and data-driven compensation mechanism for land acquisition.

 

Development of a legal document articulating how land acquisition related transactions should be carried out in a way that reduces to the minimum lodging of legal cases is necessary.

 

Besides, introduce APAs at micro level. KPIs should be concretised to assess actual performance of the concerned Ministries. KPIs to evaluate quality of work of PDs. Reward and sanctions based on performance of PDs of nationally important PIPs.

 

Moreover, implement IMED recommendations. A plan needed to implement IMED’s concrete recommendations. Progress made in view of the aforesaid plan and assessment of improvement in view of implementing the plan required, suggested Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow, CPD during his keynote presentation in a dialogue titled ‘Implementation of Public Infrastructure Projects in Bangladesh: Ensuring Good Value for Money’ at a city hotel on Wednesday organised by Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) in partnership with The Asia Foundation.

 

Dr Fahmida Khatun, Executive Director, CPD was in Chair during the session.

M A Mannan, MP Minister for Planning, Government of Bangladesh was the Chief Guest while Dr Md Abdus Shahid, MP, Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Estimates; and Eng. Enamul Haque, MP, Member, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Road Transport and Bridge were Special Guest, Rizwan Rahman, President, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) and Dr. M. Masrur Reaz, Chairman, Policy Exchange of Bangladesh were Distinguished Discussants at the dialogue.

 

 

According to the think tank, IMED faces a number of constraints:

 Lack of needed human resources logistics capacities to monitor and evaluate the large number of projects. There is absence of an international standard inspection lab at the IMED itself. There is also absence of a technical wing, media wing and highly centralised monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activities.

As Bangladesh prepares for Graduation, addressing the challenges of dual graduation – Middle Income and Graduation from the LDC Group is assuming heightened importance.

 

Infrastructure- physical, social, digital- will play a critically important role in this transition.

 

Infrastructure in Bangladesh has the added advantage of serving a large number of people making investment more economically viable.

 

Investment in infrastructure projects leads to enhanced productivity, higher competitiveness, reduced transportation costs, access to greater social services and closer integration with regional and global markets.

 

In low-income countries (LICs) and lower-middle income country (LMICs) there is significant infrastructure deficits as manifested in lack of access to efficient multi-modal transport networks, health and education related infrastructure, energy and internet.

 

Addressing infrastructure deficits is the next big challenge for these countries.

Targets 9.1, 9.4, and 9.a of SDG 9 emphasise the importance of infrastructure. Infrastructure is related, to varying degrees, to 72 per cent of all the 169 SDG targets.

 

The CPD had suggested for identifying those whose negligence resulted in flawed designs of projects, wasting our time and money.

 

Take legal action against them and apprise me of what action has been taken,” Prime Minister was quoted as saying by Planning Minister MA Mannan.

 

Planning Minister said the lack of coordination has come to Prime Minister’s notice. “She repeatedly asked different departments to strengthen coordination.”

 

Expressing dissatisfaction over the inclusion of new components in projects during revisions, the PM said, “It’s a dangerous thing. A PD [project director] takes up the responsibilities of several projects and stays in Dhaka.”

 

“It’s often seen that a few items [components] get included during revisions of a project,” the Planning Minister quoted the PM as saying. “She then asked: ‘didn’t you [project directors] visit the project sites and see these things? Why these things were not raised earlier?’,” The Minister said quoting the PM.

 

The Planning Minister said at a media briefing, “The prime minister has expressed dissatisfaction over the slow pace in development work, and has asked all concerned to expedite it.”

 

“Once these (mega) projects are implemented, the face of our economy will change. We’re taking loans from domestic and foreign sources. However, we have a careful eye so that they do not become a burden,” Prime Minister said in an address to the nation on the eve of Pohela Boishakh, the Bangla New Year’s Day.

 

According to the research, the CPD had identified some loopholes. Absence of good governance in PIP implementation undermines the efficacy of PIPs and impacts negatively on potential results and returns on investment.

 

Some of the concerns in the implementation of PIPs relate to following areas:

Selection and design of PIPs, Professionalism in preparing DPPs, Proper management and monitoring, Procurement anomalies, Tendering and contracting process, Weak independent monitoring and lack of proper oversight by concerned authorities and Weak transparency and accountability in PIP implementation.

 

In recent times, the GoB is investing significantly in the PIPs. Share of public investment in GDP has gone up from under 6.0 per cent to over 8.0 in the last ten years. In view of this, good governance in PIP implementation has assumed heightened importance in the current context.

 

There is thus a need for a comprehensive framework for ensuring good governance in PIP implementation in Bangladesh.

 

OECD has developed a framework for promoting Good Governance in Infrastructure implementation.

 

The Framework has 10 pillars. Each pillar includes three elements.Why the pillar is important? Key policy questions and Indicators of assessment (a total of 47 indicators are included in the 10 pillars)

 

Monitoring Implementation of PIPs in Bangladesh, by using this Framework as reference points, could help assess the state of good governance in PIP implementation and also in terms of providing insights and guidance towards better governance in PIP implementation in Bangladesh,

 

Government oversight agencies and independent observers and investigative journalism can make use of the framework to monitor PIPs from the vantage point of good governance.

 

Different government officials, business leaders, experts, economists and media took part, among others, in the dialogue.

 

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