News Published: Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Posted : 27 May, 2015 00:00:00
Achieving good governance, higher growth
Major reforms in bureaucracy stressed
The launching ceremony of Dr. Akbar Ali Khan's book - 'Gresham's Law Syndrome and Beyond; An Analysis of the Bangladesh Bureaucracy' - in progress in the capital on Tuesday with Prime Minister's Adviser Dr. Gowher Rizvi present as the chief guest. FE Photo
Former bureaucrats, business leaders, economists and academics underlined Tuesday the need for bringing about major reforms in the country's bureaucracy to achieve good governance and higher level of economic growth.
They said such changes in both micro and macro levels in the existing bureaucracy will further enhance competence of the bureaucrats through increasing the quality of their performance as well as institutional integrity and capacity.
Politicization of the Public Service Commission (PSC), quota system, lack of decent wages and basic needs-based training, and absence of political willingness are among the major problems severely affecting proper functioning of the country's administrative procedures.
They made these observations at a book-launching ceremony, jointly organised by Policy Research Institute (PRI) and University Press Limited (UPL), at the PRI conference room in the capital in the afternoon.
The book titled 'Gresham's Law Syndrome and Beyond; An Analysis of the Bangladesh Bureaucracy', authored by former caretaker government adviser Dr. Akbar Ali Khan, was unveiled at the function.
Prime Minister's International Affairs Adviser Dr. Gowher Rizvi was present at the programme as the chief guest. PRI Chairman Dr. Zaidi Sattar moderated it.
Speaking on the occasion, former caretaker government adviser Dr. ABM Mirza Azizul Islam said the book rightly pointed out the issue of providing incentives in any form as rewards along with punishments to the bureaucrats.
He also stressed the need for a competent bureaucracy for a nation that is moving towards a higher level of development.
Eminent business personality Syed Manzur Elahi said brilliant students are now planning to develop their career in the private sector due to many factors, including absence of proper wage structure in the public sector.
"Without a decent wage structure efficiency level goes down. In the end governance goes down, and ultimately it affects all of us. So, there is no alternative to competent bureaucracy."
"Political will is very much required to this effect, and it has to come from the top," opined Mr. Elahi, also a former caretaker government adviser.
Citing the book, Professor of the Department of Public Administration at Dhaka University Dr Salauddin M Aminuzzaman said the major challenges in the existing system are performance quality, institutional integrity and capacity, and image of the bureaucracy.
He said the quota system undermined the bureaucracy, as it has serious impact on merit-based recruitment.
Dr. Akbar Ali Khan further said frequent discussions over these topics are necessary, as everything in bureaucracy is in doldrums.
Micro-level reforms are not enough, but macro-level reforms are also needed to improve the overall system.
"This is true not only in case of the bureaucracy but also for other key areas, like the judiciary, the police and land etc. The changes are very much required for a digital administration," he added.
Dr. Gowher Rizvi expressed his solidarity with the demand for reform of the bureaucracy, saying that without political will changes cannot take place.
"Cooperation from the civil service is also equally important," he opined.
PRI Executive Director Ahsan H Mansur and Chairman of the Centre for Development Research, Bangladesh (CDRB) Dr. Mizanur Rahman Shelley, among others, also spoke on the occasion.