Local MPs will not interfere in the workings of local governance institutions
- says State Minister Mashiur Rahman Ranga
National Seminar on Local Governance Programme Sharique held
Clash between the Member of Parliament and elected local government officials is the main barrier to ensuring services to the people, said Mashiur Rahman Ranga, State Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives. He made the remarks while addressing a national conference on Local Governance Programme of Sharique project as the chief guest jointly organized by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), HELVETAS Swiss Interco operation, Bangladesh and BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) in a hotel of the city on December 7, 2016.
Sharique Conference 2016
He said "There is no clash between Members of Parliament and locally elected government representatives to provide good services to the people. These components should work complementing each other for the betterment of the country." Local MPs will not interfere in the workings of local governance institutions, he added.
"Our government is working to strengthen and empower the local government. We need more time to ensure the empowerment of the local government beyond the party interest. As part of our empowerment of the local government, we have already ensured accountability to finish the project in due time," said Mashiur Rahman Ranga.
State minister for LGRD also said they will discuss the increase of the honorarium of the elected members of local government and create new posts for local government. He also advised to work for increasing revenue in their own way as they can spend more for the people.
Emphasizing on the local government system Mani Shankar Aiyer, former Panchayet Minister of India said that “Both democracy and development facilitate each other. If development is not equitable it will pose a threat to democracy. Hence what is required is inclusive growth through inclusive governance and this can be done by allowing more autonomy to local government. The former member of Lok Shabha and Rajya Shabha in India also shared experience of the performance and challenges of the local government of different Indian provinces. He also stressed the need for greater participation of women in local government to bring equitable development. He also said "It's a big challenge to coordinate the root level elected member with government. The successful government can manage this."
 Attending as the Special Guest, Ambassador of Switzerland to Bangladesh Christian Fotsch praised Bangladesh for ensuring the rights of women to vote so early. Though his country gained independence almost 400 years ago, the right to vote for the women was ensured only in 1971.
The programme was attended by Mr. Md. Shah Kamal, Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Executive Director, BIGD, Kaspar Grossenbacher, Country Director of HELVETAS Swiss Interco operation, Bangladesh; Dr. Badiul Alam Majumdar, Country Representative, The Hunger Project, Dr. Tofail Ahmed, local governance expert and Ms. Melina Papageorgiou Trippolini, Programme Manager of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), among others. Other participants in the programme included academics, elected representatives from Sharique working areas and NGO partners active in local governance sector.
The event was held to celebrate ten years (2006-2016) of Sharique and also to launch a step-by-step guide that has captured Sharique’s ten years of experience in the local governance sector. The objective of launching this guide is to make the practical lessons learned from the programme available to other stakeholders, including Union Parishad themselves, as well as a range of public and non-governmental partners. The guidance is designed to offer systematic tips and advice to improve accountability, citizen’s participation and effectiveness in development planning and budgeting at the Union Parishad level.
In the second half of the day-long event three presentations were made on the role of Union Parishad in disaster management by Mr. Md. Shah Kamal, on budget coverage of Upazila and Union Parishad by Mr. Md. Habibur Rahman, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Finance and on sources of revenue of Union Parishad by Mr. Nurul Islam, Research Officer, NILG. A panel discussion and feedback session were held under the facilitation of Mr. Md. Shah Kamal in which locally elected representatives shared their experiences on the themes presented earlier.