Strengthening local government institutions emphasized

14 Sep 2013

imageThe dialogue emphasised more concentration on non-infrastructural areas, major reforms on legal framework, existing LG elections and structure. Photo: UNDP Bangladesh.
Speakers at a divisional level policy dialogue stressed the need for strengthening the capacity of local government institutions (LGIs) to make those fully functional, democratic and transparent entities. They also laid emphasis on carrying out reforms in the existing Local Government (LG) system to empower the LGIs at all levels to deliver quality services to citizens.

The policy dialogue, titled ‘Services and Policies of Local Government Institutions’, was held at Nanking Darbar Hall in Rajshahi on 14 September.

The Upazila Governance Project (UZGP), being implemented by the Local Government Division (LGD), organised the dialogue to elicit public opinion on local governance reforms from local level functionaries, public representatives, general citizens and members of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and NGOs.

The dialogue emphasised more concentration on non-infrastructural areas, major reforms on legal framework, existing LG elections and structure, and removing overlapping functions between LGIs and government functionaries at all corresponding levels such as Union, Upazila and Zila.

Addressing the dialogue as chief guest, State Minister for Industries, Mr. Omar Faruk Chowdhury, MP, said that the coordination between public representatives and government officials is a must as the LGIs are playing a critical role in alleviating poverty, achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and reaching the services to the doorsteps of the people.

Mr. Abu Alam Md. Shahid Khan, Secretary, Local Government Division (LGD) said that steps would be taken to bring necessary reforms to the LGIs to make them more functional, democratic, accountable and service-oriented institutions.

Among others, Mr. Md. Shah Kamal, Additional Secretary (Admin), LGD and National Project Director (NPD), UZGP; Mr. Shaila Khan, Assistant Country Director and Head, Local Governance Cluster, UNDP Bangladesh; Mr. Akram –al-Hossain, Joint Secretary (UZP) and Focal Person, UZGP; and Md. Munir Hossain, Additional Divisional Commissioner (General) and Director, Local Government (DLG), spoke on the occasion.   

Eminent LG expert and National Technical Advisor (NTA), UZGP, Dr. Tofail Ahmed presented the key note paper while Mr. Helaluddin Ahmed, Divisional Commissioner, Rajshahi, presided over the dialogue.

About 250 participants from 33 different professional categories, divided into seven thematic groups, took part in the dialogue and made a set of recommendations to strengthen LG service delivery and bring necessary reforms.

This was the fourth dialogue in a series of seven dialogues the Upazila Governance Project (UZGP) is going to hold at seven divisions of the country. Earlier, the first three dialogues were held in Sylhet, Barisal and Khulna.

The European Union (EU), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), UNCDF and UNDP, are providing financial and technical assistance to the project.