WORKSHOPS

A National Workshop
to finalize the framework for Citizens’ engagement held

A national workshop for finalisation of the framework for citizens’ engagement in public procurement under Public-Private Stakeholders Committee (PPSC) of Public Procurement Reform Project (PPRP) II was held on 12th January 2014 at the NEC Conference Room in Planning Commission Campus, Dhaka. The workshop was organised and facilitated by Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU) of the Implementation Monitoring & Evaluation Division (IMED) of the Planning Ministry and the Institute of Governance Studies (IGS) at the BRAC University.

The purpose of the workshop was to discuss and finalise the draft framework which has been devised through a number of consultation workshops, interviews, focus group discussions, literature review, and meetings with key stakeholders at various levels. The first draft of the framework was presented at the 7th and 8th PPSC Meeting held on 3rd July and 11th September 2013 respectively, which held rigorous discussions on the draft.  Stakeholders also provided their written feedback on the framework.

Mr. A K Khandaker, honourable Planning Minister, the Chief Guest couldn’t attend the workshop due to his some urgent businesses. Mohammad Mejbahuddin, Secretary, IME Division, Ministry of Planning and Christine E. Kimes, the Acting Country Director, the World Bank Dhaka Office, attended the workshop as the Special Guests.  CPTU DG Amulya Kumar Debnath chaired the workshop.  IGS consultant A K M Nashirul Haq presented some of the key proposals of the framework. PPSC members, representatives of the member organisations, NGOs, international NGOs, think tanks, procurement experts working in different organisations attended the workshop.

After threadbare discussion on the framework in four groups and plenary session, the workshop recommended the followings:

1. Citizens’ engagement and monitoring on public procurement of Bangladesh is essential.
2. It should be started primarily at the upazilla level in some pilot projects.
3. An ethical guideline and workable terms of references must be formulated at the commencement of the civic engagement.
4. Initially, the main focus of citizens’ engagement should be stressed at the outcome part of the project, later it can be applied at process/design part of the procurement.

Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Executive Director, IGS-BDI, attended the inaugural session and Dr. Rizwan Khair, Director of IGS, BRAC University, attended both the inaugural and working session.

Some of the links of media coverage of the event are given below:

The Daily Sun

The Daily Star

The Daily ittefaq

The Daily Jugantor

The Daily Prothom Alo

The Daily Samakal

The Financial Express

BanglaNews24.com

The Daily Kaler Kontho

Daily BhorerKagoj

ManobKantha

Shokaler Khobor

The Independent

AlokitoBangladesh

The report24

JanaKantha

 

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Workshop in Khulna on Public Procurement
Citizens' engagement will improve quality of work, ensure
social accountability and best use of public money

Citizens engagement in public procurement will improve the quality of works, ensure social accountability and would enable to create an environment for the best use of public money. The involvement of citizens in public procurement can also identify the irregularities and errors of procurement. To aware people about the existing rules and regulations of procurement process, engaging campaigns are required to involve citizens in the process.

Such recommendations emerged from the inaugural session of a workshop titled How to Engage Citizens and Ensure Social Accountability in Public Procurement, organised jointly by BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University and Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU), IME Division of Planning Ministry, on thursday, 11 February 2016, at the Hotel City Inn, Khulna. BIGD is providing the technical assistance to the CPTU, IMED to help design and implement the social accountability mechanism that aims to institutionalize and develop a third party monitoring system in the public procurement process of the country.

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Guests and participants at the inaugural session of the workshop

Khulna Divisional Commissioner Md. Abdus Samad graced the workshop as the Chief Guest, while the World Bank Lead Procurement Specialist Dr. Zafarul Islam was present as the Special Guest. Deputy Commissioner of Khulna Nazmul Ahsan presided over the workshop. CPTU Director General Md. Faruk Hossain delivered the welcome speech at the event. Among others, Sheikh Harunur Rashid, President, Khulna District Awami League, and Lead researcher of BIGD and team leader of Social Accountability component of PPRP-II Dr. Mirza Hassan spoke at the event.

Faruk Hossain said, if transparency and accountability can be ensured in public procurement, and the rule of law can be established through keeping the process free from corruption, it will help the government in ensuring overall good governance.

Admiring the initiative and strong commitment of Bangladesh government, Dr. Zarful Islam said, Bangladesh is the only country in the world, lending money from the World Bank to reform public procurement process which is a rare and bold example of a country willing to bring changes for the public good. It indicates high-level commitment of the government.

Sheikh Harunur Rashid elaborated on the necessity of openness, transparency and accountability in the delivery of public services.

Nazmul Ahsan stressed on estabishing trust among the relevant stakeholders reiterating the need of accountability in reforming the public procurement process and requested the tenderers, the government agencies and other parties to put establishment of trust among each other as the top priority.  

Md. Abdus Samad said, we need to work for noble cause, so that it can benefit the country. He said the main objective of our activities is to improve the conditions of our people. If it does not serve the purpose, then it is meaningless. And the people's constructive criticism, suggestions and inclusion is very much needed to accomplish the goal. 

Dr. Mirza Hassan made a presentation on a plan to pilot third-party monitoring (TPM) of public procurement in four upazillas of Rangpur and Sirajganj districts.

About 70 participants took part in the workshop and made recommendations about the need and ways for citizen engagement or TPM of public procurement. The participants were split into four groups. Each of the groups finalized their recommendations about TPM and presented those in the workshop. Some more similar workshops will be held at divisional level culminating into a national workshop in Dhaka.

The objectives of the workshop were to raise awareness about citizen engagement in public procurement at the division level, to reflect on the perceptions on existing rules and regulations and discuss whether any amendments are required and introducing the third party monitoring piloting strategy and gather feedback/suggestions from the workshop participants.

The participants represented government procuring entities, tenderer community, civil society, media, business community, local government institutions, academia and elected representatives of various tiers up to Parliament. Representatives from Assistance for Social Organisation & Development (ASOD) and Eco Social Development Organization (ESDO), the two implementation partner of this piloting project were also present at the workshop.

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Divisional Workshop in Sylhet on Citizen’s Engagement in Public Procurement

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BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University and Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU), IME Division, Planning Ministry jointly organized a divisional workshop on ‘Citizen’s Engagement to Ensure Social Accountability in Public Procurement’ on 24 March, 2016 at a local Hotel in Sylhet under Social Accountability Component of Public Procurement Reform Project (PPRP-II).  Around 70 participants from different strata of society including representatives from media, government officials, engineers, civil society, political parties and bidders attended the workshop.

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Participants at the workshop

A major focus of the discussion of the workshop was how to ensure citizen’s effective engagement in public procurement. In general, participants agreed that citizen’s involvement in public procurement will improve the quality of works and help create an environment for the best use of public money. Several participants in the workshop observed that the involvement of citizens in public procurement can also help identify the irregularities and weaknesses of procurement process.

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The inaugural session of the workshop was chaired by Mr. Syed Mohammad Anisur Rahman, District Additional Magistrate, Sylhet.  Following the inaugural speech by Mr. Shafiul Alam, Communications and Social Awareness Building Consultant, CPTU, IME Division; Dr. Mirza Hassan, Team Leader of the Consultant Team of BIGD delivered a brief overview of the Social Accountability component of the project. He also described how BIGD is facilitating the dissemination of information regarding the project and shared the field experiences in relation to mobilization of citizen and youth groups. In delivering vote of thanks, Mr. Mohammad Rafiqul Islam Talukdar, Senior Program Manager, BIGD referred to the three dimensions of accountability - vertical, horizontal and downward - linking the downward accountability with the social accountability and citizen’s involvement in public procurement process.

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Followed by the plenary session, a group-work session was organized. It was divided into three groups and each group was provided with three sets of questions regarding existing laws, strategy of citizen involvement and the question of long-term sustainability of the project. The recommendations and suggestions that came from threadbare discussion of different groups were wide-ranging and constructive. Mr. Ekram Hossain, Senior Manager (Communications) and Mr. Mohammad Rafiqul Islam Talukdar, Senior Program Manager, both from BIGD facilitated both the plenary and the group-work sessions.

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Participants at the group-work session

The objectives of the workshop were to raise awareness about citizen engagement in public procurement at the division level, to reflect on the perceptions on existing rules and regulations and discuss whether any amendments are required and introducing the third party monitoring piloting strategy and gather feedback/suggestions from the workshop participants. BIGD is providing the technical assistance to the CPTU, IMED to help design and implement the social accountability mechanism that aims to institutionalize and develop a third party monitoring system in the public procurement process of Bangladesh.

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Divisional Workshop on Public procurement held in Chittagong

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Chief Guest, Special Guest, and other distinguished guest at the inaugural session of the workshop

A workshop titled ‘How to Engage Citizens and Ensure Social Accountability in Public Procurement’ organized jointly by BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University and Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU), IME Division of Planning Ministry was held on Thursday, 28 April 2016, at the Hotel Agrabad, Chittagong. The Chittagong Divisional Workshop was held as a way to raise awareness amongst citizens and receive feedback from the local level on the Third Party Engagement piloting program. Mr. FaridUddin Ahmed Chowdhury, Honorable Secretary, IME Division, Planning Ministry and Dr. Zafrul Islam, Lead Procurement Specialist, World Bank, attended the workshop as the Chief Guest and Special Guest respectively. Additional Deputy Commissioner (LA) of Chittagong, Md. Doulatuzzaman Khan presided over the workshop. Md. Aziz Taher Khan, Director, CPTU delivered the welcome speech at the event. Among others, Abdul Mannan, Member, Socio-Economic Infrastructure Division, Planning Commission and Dr. Mirza Hassan, Team Leader of Social Accountability Component of PPRP-II spoke at the event.

During the discussion session, Md. Aziz Taher Khan, Director, CPTU urged the participants to provide feedback so that the strategy for citizen engagement can be further improved.Dr. Mirza Hassan raised the question on reforming legal framework on citizen engagement in PPRP. He said, citizen and youth committee and project-orientedcommittee would be working as ‘watch dogs’ of the project. Dr. Zafrul Islam, Lead Procurement Specialist, World Bank, said that citizens have to rethink their ‘self accountability’ for the betterment of the society in everyday life rather than blaming the government for everything. Abdul Mannan, Member, Socio-Economic Infrastructure Division, Planning Commission, elaborated on thenecessity of openness, transparency and accountability in the delivery of public services. Chief Guest, Mr. FaridUddin Ahmed Chowdhury, Secretary, IME Division of Planning Ministry, argued that citizens’ ready engagement is necessary to ensure the sustainability of this project. Other speakers included, Md. Hamidul Islam, a Chittagong based journalist, E.K.M Oliullah, General Secretary of theKarnafully Gas Distribution Company and various local engineers, contractors and professors. 70 participants attended the event from different government and non-government institutions.

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The workshop consisted of a group session where participants were requested to report their feedback on the third party monitoring strategy. The participants were split into three groups, with each group presenting their recommendations at the end of the exercise. The workshop held in Chittagong is the third divisional workshop organized by BIGD. These workshops will culminate in a national seminar to be held towards the end of this year.

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Group activity session

BIGD is providing the technical assistance to the CPTU to help design and implement the social accountability mechanism that aims to institutionalize and develop a third party monitoring system in the public procurement process of the country. Citizen’s engagement in public procurement will improve the quality of works, ensure social accountability and create an environment for the best use of public money. The involvement of citizens in public procurement can also identify the irregularities and errors of procurement. To make people aware about the existing rules and regulations of procurement process, engaging campaigns are required to involve citizens in the process.

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Workshop on Designing and Implementing Government Performance Management Systems held

A workshop titled ‘Designing and Implementing Government Performance Management Systems’ was held from 12-15 November, 2014 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre, jointly organized by the Cabinet Division of Bangladesh Government and BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD*), BRAC University, with the financial support from the World Bank, Dhaka office.

Training on Government Performance Management System held

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Mr. N. M. Zeaul Alam, Secretary (Coordination & Reforms), and Mr. Md. Mahiuddin Khan, Additional Secretary (Reforms),
of Cabinet Division Image 1 & 3 clockwise from top ) are seen facilitating trainings;
A group-work during training (Image 2 clockwise from top )

BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University and the Cabinet Division, Government of Bangladesh (GoB) jointly hosted a 10-day training on Government Performance Management System, held during April 11-25, 2016 at the CIRDAP Training Room, Dhaka. The purpose of the training was to help 250 representatives of all 48 Ministries/Divisions orient and train on how to design the vision, mission, objectives, and indicator based performance targets in 2016-2017 for each Ministry/Division. The training was also meant to help frame Annual Performance Agreement (APA) of the Government and make improve capacity on results based management.

Mr. N. M. Zeaul Alam, Secretary (Coordination & Reforms), Cabinet Division; Mr. Md. Mahiuddin Khan, Additional Secretary (Reforms), Cabinet Division; Mr. Md. Abdul Halim, Director General, Governance Innovation Unit, Prime Minister’s Office; Mr. Abu Saleh Md. Ferdous Khan, Deputy Secretary, Cabinet Division; Mr. Altaf Hossain Sheikh, Deputy Secretary, Cabinet Division; and Mr. Kamrul Hasan, Senior Assistant Secretary, Cabinet Division conducted different training sessions.

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Mr. Mohammad Shafiul Alam, Cabinet Secretary; Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Executive Director, BIGD andMr. Md. Mahiuddin Khan,
Additional Secretary (Reforms), Cabinet Division in the closing ceremony (Image 1 from left)
 

The training was concluded following a closing ceremony on 25 April 2016 at the meeting room of the Cabinet Secretary. The closing event was chaired by Mr. Mohammad Shafiul Alam, Cabinet Secretary, the Government of Bangladesh. Among others, Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Executive Director of BIGD; Mr. N. M. Zeaul Alam, Secretary (Coordination & Reforms), Cabinet Division; Mr. Md. Mahiuddin Khan, Additional Secretary (Reforms), Cabinet Division; and Mohammad Rafiqul Islam Talukdar, Senior Programme Manager of BIGD, attended the closing ceremony. The chair concluded the training with thanks to organizers, trainers and trainees.

BIGD, in cooperation with the World Bank and the Government of Bangladesh, has been implementing the second phase of the project titled “Community of Practice (CoP) on Performance Management in South Asia” since July 2015 to help strengthen the performance management system of the Government. This training was organized under the interim activity plan of the project.

 

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