Unified law suggested for local govt bodies

March 28, 2009

Report by Now-defunct LGC
Unified law suggested for local govt bodies
Rakib Hasnet Suman
The now-defunct local government commission (LGC) recommended forming a unified law to govern all local government institutions repealing the existing acts for local government bodies.
Besides the functioning ordinances and acts, there are more than 100 subordinate laws related to the local government institutions, said the LGC in its report published before the ordinances lost their effectiveness last month.
It said a single law could be formulated instead of a number of related laws to run all local government bodies like union parishads, upazila parishads, municipalities, city corporations and Chittagong Hill Tracts district councils.
In its maiden report, the LGC suggested that a permanent local government commission comprising independent and neutral persons and professionals and experts be formed which would benefit the local and central government.
A separate budget for local government bodies can be placed before the parliament and a local government service structure can be established to appoint officials of local government institutions, the report suggested.
The report may be treated as the first and last report of country’s first LGC. The report was submitted before the president, prime minister, minister and secretary of the ministry concerned. Copies of the report were also sent to the Jatiya Sangsad Library and National Library and Archives for keeping record.
Asked about the report, Muhammad Faizur Razzaque, former chairman of the defunct LGC, said, “According to an ordinance [now annulled] the commission was supposed to submit a report each year. We submit our report hurriedly since the ordinance was not ratified.”
He hoped their recommendations would be helpful for the government to make the local government system more effective.
Prof Tofael Ahmed of the defunct LGC told The Daily Star, “The local government bodies would be more effective and better functioning in future if the government or a local government commission considered and implemented the recommendations we made in our report.
“Even though our commission worked only for 115 days, we came up with some important recommendations that would make the local government system more transparent and better functioning,” he said.
The commission started work on November 9 last year but became invalid after February 24 as the Local Government Commission Ordinance, 2008, was placed but not ratified in the ninth parliament.
The commission also suggested that a permanent system for appointing officials to run administration, finance, accounts, planning and engineering departments of local government bodies be introduced.
“A service structure should be formed for local government bodies under a certain policy,” the report said, adding that a central agency will appoint officials and their working areas will be in local government bodies.
The report said after 20 years of continued service those officials can be promoted to the ministry concerned or other high-level institutions.
It also said a permanent local government commission can formulate policies every five years to allocate budgets for local government bodies.
Development plans and budget system need to be changed to ensure transparency of funding of local government, the report said.

Courtesy of The Daily Star

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