Speakers at an International Seminar today stressed the need for formulation of a Local Government Legal Framework (LGLF) to create a strong enough Local Government (LG) system in the country.
The proposed LGLF will cover all the units and tiers irrespective of urban and rural, having clear guideline on the mode of formation, function, jurisdiction, taxation, finance, budget account, electoral process, and central-local and local-local relationship.
They made the suggestion at the first day of the two-day International Seminar titled “Towards Effective, Accountable and Inclusive Local Government Institutions (LGIs): Learning from South Asia and Beyond” held at Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) in Dhaka today.
Three other Asian countries -India ,Sri Lanka and the Philippines-are attending the seminar to share views and experiences of LG system of their countries.
The representatives from Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA) of India, Sri Lanka Institute of Local Governance (SLILG) of Sri Lanka and Asian Institute of Developmental Studies, Inc. (AIDSI) of Philippines presented papers on existing LG system and good practices from their country perspectives.
The international seminar focused mainly, among other issues, on the making local governance truly accountable and inclusive with a view to better prepare them to contribute meaningfully to achieve the vision 2021.
The participants also laid emphasize on the need for increasing level of south-south cooperation as it will help setting out future agenda for the local governance based on the lessons learned from the experiences of these countries, and will eventually help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Bangladesh and other countries.
Local Government Division (LGD), Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, with the support from National Institute of Local Government (NILG), Upazila Governance Project (UZGP) and Union Parishad Governance Project (UPGP), organized the seminar.
Mr. Abdul Malek, Secretary, LGD was present at the inaugural session as Chief Guest while Mr. Sudipto Mukerjee, Country Director, UNDP Bangladesh and Peter Bøgh Jensen, Head of Cooperation, DANIDA, Bangladesh as Special Guests.
Chaired by Mr. Jyotirmay Dutta, Additional Secretary, LGD, Mr. Iqramul Haque, Director General of NILG and Additional Secretary, LGD gave the welcome address.
Prepared by Professor Salahuddin M. Aminuzzaman of Dhaka University, the key note paper on “Key Challenges and Means to Make Effective, Accountable and Inclusive LGIs in Bangladesh” was read out by Dr. Mobasser Monem of Dhaka University.
While addressing, the LGD Secretary said that the improving service delivery by local governments is one of the main drivers of overall development of the country. He also reiterated government’s commitment to make the LGIs an effective, efficient, accountable and inclusive entity.
LG functionaries working at different tiers including elected public representatives, government officials, academicians, LG experts, representatives from development partners and training institutions, CSOs and NGOs are attended the seminar.
On the first day of the two-day seminar, a total of three studies, conducted by UZGP and UPGP, on local governance, decentralization, fiscal decentralization, local service delivery and empowerment of women, were presented in two business sessions. Five more studies will be presented today (Sunday, 11 December)
At the closing session tomorrow (Sunday, 11 December), Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, will be present as Chief Guest while Christian Fotsch, Ambassador of Switzerland to Bangladesh; Mr. Nick Beresford, Deputy Country Director, UNDP Bangladesh and Ms. Anna Lixi, Counsellor and Governance Team Leader, EU Delegation, as Special Guests.