News Published: Sunday, Nov 09, 2014
Political intervention badly hampering policymaking
Leading economists tell workshop
→ Staff Correspondent
Prof Nurul Islam, Deputy Chairman of the first planning commission of Bangladesh government, speaks at a workshop titled �Policymaking and Institutions in Bangladesh,� at PRI�s conference room in Dhaka on Saturday.
Institutional policymaking is being severely hampered in the country due to political intervention, observed economists at a workshop in Dhaka on Saturday.
�Political intervention in public institutions must be stopped. Otherwise, good policymaking will be of no use if there is no accountability,� renowned economist Prof Dr Wahiduddin Mahmud remarked.
He was speaking at the workshop titled �Policymaking and Institutions in Bangladesh,� jointly organised by the Policy Research Institute (PRI) and the Bangladesh Economist Forum (BEF) at PRI�s conference room in the city.
�There should be accountability in all segments of a democratic system and there should also be a limit of grafts in the whole administrative system,� Wahiduddin Mahmud said.
He repented that the country�s development has become election-oriented and with the process only rural roads are being improved while the highways are being neglected.
�We�ve to come out of this tendency,� he added.
Deputy Chairman of the government�s first planning commission Prof Nurul Islam presented the keynote paper at the event.
In his speech, Prof Dr Shasul Alam, boss of a government think tank, said: �As a nation we�ve been bogged down in the history of 1971. As a result, we could not strengthen our democracy and our political parity is also confined to that historical event, neglecting core values of democracy.�
For the same reason, no effective middle class, which could have worked as a pressure group on democratic issues, has been developed in the country, which eventually hindered strengthening of local institutions, he pointed out.
Saleh Uddin, former Bangladesh Bank government, said banks are not playing the role of creating entrepreneurs now, rather than putting special emphasis on influential people.
�Now, 10 banks are flocking together to give loans to the same people who had been given loan earlier by a single bank,� he commented, adding that there is actually no existence of local governments, although it is being said so,� he said.
While addressing the workshop, Dr AB Mirza Azizul Islam said there is still huge mismatch between expectations and the reality.
�We will have to think about how we can coordinate our expectations and realities. We need to discuss what will be the role of political leadership and policymaking,� the former caretaker government adviser said.
Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman, former governor Mohammed Farashuddin, and Dr Towfiq, among others, addressed the workshop.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Atiur Rahman, however, admitted that they have to face much pressure to keep the economy on the track.
�We had taken timely steps to bring down banks� investment limits what they crossed during the turbulent period for the capital market,� he said, adding that the central bank was now working on bringing back the driven away investors to the equity market, what he says is a tough job now.