Dhaka, Bangladesh
Experts slam MPs for 'interference in local govt activities'

Experts slam MPs for 'interference in local govt activities'

Speakers at a seminar here on Saturday said making MPs advisers to Upazila Parishads is the 'mother of all problems' as the lawmakers frequently interfere in the activities of the local government body, reports UNB. "MPs' advice is considered as executive order since taking their advice has been made mandatory (in the law)…they abuse their power," said Prof Dr Akhter Hussain, Chairman of Dhaka University's Public Administration Department. Brac Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) of the Brac University arranged the seminar titled 'Revenue mobilisation and women's representation in the Union Parishad and state of accountability of the transferred departments at the Upazila Parishad' at a city hotel. Addressing the function, human right activist adv Sultana Kamal said corruption and lack of accountability are one of the main reasons behind the present 'sorry state of local government bodies'. Sultana Kamal, also a former caretaker government adviser, said the central government frequently interferes in local government activities. "The central government influences directly first and its influence gradually turns into interference and intervention sometimes." Placing the findings of a study on state of accountability of the transferred departments at the Upazila Parishad, BIGD 'adjunct fellow' Dr Mirza Hasan said MPs do everything in the local government in the name of advice. "Making MPs advisers became the mother of all problems… The prospect of decentralisation fades only because of the interference of MPs," he said. He alleged that MPs tend to interfere in departments where resources and funds are larger in size. "And the local MP usually rejects the beneficiary list proposed by the Upazila Parishad elected body," he added. According to the article 25 of the Upazila Parishad Act, the Parishad 'will have to take the advice or shall accept the advice of the MP. Placing the findings of another study on women's representation in the Union Parishad, BIGD visiting fellow Maheen Sultana said, "Women members' influence in the Union Parishad depends on having good relations with the chairman, male members and UP secretary." She said women UP members still prefer contesting elections from UP reserved seats as they are not yet fully ready to run for general seats due to high election expenses and competition. Swiss Ambassador in Dhaka Christian Fotsch, Secretary of Citizens for Good Governance (Shujan) Dr Badiul Alam Majumdar, General Secretary of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad Maleka Banu and BIGD Executive Director Dr Sultan Hafeez Rahman, among others, spoke at the event.

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