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Dhaka Tribune

TIB voices concern over MP's block allocation

  • Urges establishment of a transparent governance mechanism
  • Tk20 crore announced as MPs’ block allocation
  • ‘Such schemes provide opportunities to many parliamentarians to abuse political power’

 

Update : 20 Feb 2024, 08:47 PM

The Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) on Tuesday voiced concern over potential misuse and wastage of public funds as a block allocation of Tk20 crore was announced for MPs for implementation of development projects in each constituency.

It also urged the establishment of a transparent and accountable governance mechanism to ensure proper utilization of the allocated funds.

On 18th February, the LGRD minister told parliament that each Member of Parliament (MP) could receive Tk20 crore over five years for implementing development projects in their respective constituencies.

The process of finalizing a project in this regard is currently underway.

TIB Executive Director (ED) Dr Iftekharuzzaman said: “Despite the gradual increase in constituency-wise block allocations, there has been historical negligence in ensuring proper fund utilization and governance in these projects. Lawmakers, who have sole authority over monitoring and addressing complaints related to the projects, often endorse irregularities for personal gain, leading to compromised transparency and accountability.”

He highlighted that such schemes provide opportunities to many parliamentarians to abuse political power, engage in nepotism, and gain unethical financial benefits, ultimately normalizing corruption at the local level and misusing state resources.

TIB's concerns stem from its previous study titled "Governance Challenges in the Implementation of the Infrastructure Development Project under Constituency-Based Block Allocation", published on 12 August 2020.

The study uncovered that the schemes under the projects were deemed essential at local level, but their quality of work did not meet expectation.

This discrepancy was attributed to compromised relationships fostering mutual benefit and commission trading between the contractors and their supervisory authorities involved in the planning and execution of the schemes.

Consequently, irregularities and corruption within the schemes led to the squandering of public funds, ultimately benefiting vested quarters, it said.

 Referring to the 2020 study, Dr Iftekharuzzaman said specific recommendations were made, but no noticeable initiatives have been taken to implement those to ensure good governance in the use of constituency-wise block allocations.

TIB is now calling for a comprehensive and neutral scrutiny of the previous projects, funded through block allocations, before allocating new funds, he said.

“The organization also advocates for implementation of a proper monitoring and evaluation system as well as a mandatory code of conduct addressing the lawmakers' integrity and conflicts of interest in executing development schemes.”

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