(From left to right) Mr. Martuza Ahmed, Dr. Sadaat Hussein, Dr Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Mr. Hasanul Haq Inu MP, Mr. Muhammad
Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, Mr. Ekram Ahmed and Prof. Dr. Khurshida Begum Sayeed seen at the seminar
A Seminar on Performance Management of the Public Service Commission and Information Commission of Bangladesh was organised by BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University, in partnership with the Cabinet Division of the Government of Bangladesh and the World Bank on 30th August, 2015 at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka.
Mr. Hasanul Haq Inu MP, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Information attended the event as the Chief Guest. He urged the government officials to act within the law and come out of corrupt practices like lobbying and political influence. He emphasized on the need for Government of Bangladesh to adjust certain practices, to be able to stand alongside other countries of the region and the globe, as a well performing democracy. He highlighted the issues that can help the public servants to improve their efficiency level and said they must be 'innovative' and earn 'entrepreneurial' quality to bypass the influence. He also stressed on building a skill-based administration by practicing meritocracy. He added, the Government Performance Management System (GPMS) can help public officials focus and align their expertise with the right institutions.
Dr. Sadaat Hussein, former Bangladesh Public Service Commission (BPSC) Chairman and Cabinet Secretary, in the keynote speech made some crucial points. He argued that control of corruption practice at the top four levels of government institutions and statutory bodies, will positively impact the performance of all other officials of those institutions. He appreciated Cabinet Division for sharing the experience of GPMS with other government institutions, and wished that smooth adaption of GPMS will enhance the mobility of both the institutions.
Since GPMS has already been established in Bangladesh, there are important lessons to look at on how the implementation has gone so far. These lessons were shared by Mr. Mohammad Mahiuddin Khan, Additional Secretary, Cabinet Division. He talked about both the positives and negatives that the government has had to face in attempting a smooth transition of the GPMS into their current system. He noted that moving the focus from process-orientation to results-orientation of the ministries has proved to be a major hindrance.
BIGD Executive Director Dr Sultan Hafeez Rahman presided over the seminar, addressed by Cabinet Secretary Muhammad Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, BPSC Chairman Ekram Ahmed, Information Commissioner Prof. Dr. Khurshida Begum Sayeed and Information Secretary Martuza Ahmed.
Prof. Khurshida emphasized on the need for the top level officials to maintain certain performance standards as their actions have a great impact on the performance of all other personnel of the institution. Mr. Bhuiyan revealed the audience on how the government is devising an accountability tool, which, if built appropriately, can be used to hold any government officials, even ministers, accountable for the service they provide.
Distinguished Guests and Participants at the open floor discussion
In the open discussion, Dr. Mahbub Ullah, Professor, University of Dhaka expressed a slightly pessimistic view of the GPMS, stating that certain rigidities were present in government institutions and therefore it is difficult to think that government officials will follow performance management norms. Prof. Md. Golam Rahman, BSS Chairman and Pro-Vice Chancellor of Daffodil University, also voiced his opinion, saying that transparency is a major issue and that it is rarely easy to gather information from government officials. He also shed light on the fact that most Annual Development Budget financed government projects get done towards the end of the fiscal year, greatly compromising the quality of the product. In extreme cases, these projects don’t even get completed on time.
Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman is seen delivering his concluding remarks
In the concluding remarks, Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman said there is a strong positive relationship between an efficient bureaucracy and a better performing economy. He reminded the audience that bureaucracy is in fact the trustee of the nation and therefore has a duty to the nation to always improve and maintain performance standards.
Distinguished Guests and Participants at the event
Among others, members from the two commissions, government officials, journalists and members of the civil society attended the seminar.
The main purpose of the seminar was to understand how the Government Performance Management System (GPMS) works in Bangladesh and to incorporate that knowledge into creating a better functioning and efficient performance assessment process.