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Empowering local governance

  • Published at 10:56 pm July 11th, 2019

Local government institutions in Bangladesh are hampered by limited decision-making and financial authority

A recent World Bank report, which stated that Bangladesh must empower local government institutions through administrative and fiscal decentralization in order to achieve upper-middle income status over the years, is a crucial reminder for our authorities regarding what is needed to achieve middle income status.

The numbers are also telling -- spending by local government institutions as a share of GDP is five times lower than the average in developing countries in Bangladesh, while total spending by local government institutions accounts for 7% of total government expenditure, as compared to an average of 19% in other developing countries, and 28% in industrial countries.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina remains steadfast in the implementation of Bangladesh’s “Vision 2041” -- and our upward trajectory and economic growth gives her and the entire nation reason to be confident that we will see the country become a developed nation, but Bangladesh must decentralize the governance system and empower local government in order for this to become possible.

This is not lost on the PM, who reiterated recently that good governance and empowerment of the people will be key policies required for the progress of the country -- of which a competent and empowered local government is a vital part.

At this point in time, local government institutions in Bangladesh are hampered by limited decision-making and financial authority, weak pubic financial management practices, lack of resources and staff, and weak capacity.

Therefore, it is imperative that, beyond recognizing the issues plaguing our local government institutions, there is sufficient and consistent support provided to them to address and overcome these issues and fulfilling our long-term economic vision.