Political, bureaucratic influence hits climate projects hard: TIB

Dhaka,  Tue,  26 September 2017
Published : 24 Aug 2017, 01:14:56
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Political, bureaucratic influence hits climate projects hard: TIB

Level of corruption in water board alarming, it says
FE Report


Political influence and lack of accountability and coordination among the stakeholders were the key reasons behind the poor governance in climate fund projects implemented by Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), said a latest study report.

Besides, arbitrary selection of project areas, poor knowledge of the officials concerned and indifferences of authorities in addressing the irregularities were found responsible for the weak governance.

Conducted by Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), the study report on 'Climate Finance and Governance in Project Implementation: The Case of Bangladesh Water Development Board' was released at a press conference at the TIB headquarters in the capital Wednesday.

TIB executive director Dr Iftekharuzzaman, its adviser (executive management) Professor Dr. Sumaiya Khair and senior programme manager of its climate finance governance unit M. Zakir Hossain Khan were present at the press conference, among others.

TIB climate finance governance wing's programme managers (research) Gulam Mohiuddin, Mahua Raouf and assistant manager Razu Ahmed Masum conducted the research. Gulam Mohiuddin presented the research findings at the press conference.

Dr Iftekharuzzaman said the BWDB has so far used around 40 per cent of the country's total climate fund allocation, stressing the need for ensuring good governance in using the climate fund.

The study was conducted during a period of March 2015 to July 2017 in six of the BWDB projects.

Information about four key points like transparency, accountability, integration and public participation during project implementation was collected.

According to the report, there was no transparency in selection of the contractors in cases of all six projects.

"It was found in every case that the projects were implemented with sub-contractors illegally while both the contractors and sub-contractors were politically influential," the report said.

"Of the total six projects, four were approved with recommendation and influence by a secretary, political leaders, relative of a former minister and local member of current parliament."

According to the report, during the period from fiscal year (FY) 2009-10 to July 2017 the BWDB undertook 141 projects with an allocation of Tk 11.30 billion, which was 40 per cent of the total Bangladesh Climate Change Trust (BCCT) fund. Around 92 per cent of the local people, surveyed in the study, did not know about the projects being implemented for them while the information board was not properly installed in most of the projects violating the rules, the study revealed.  

The report presented 14-point recommendations to make climate fund projects more meaningful for the people.

The TIB suggested amendment to the laws related to Bangladesh Climate Change Trust (BCCT) fund and the BWDB for including a third party for observing the project development.  

It also recommended the BWDB to make its 'Integrity committee' stronger and publish reports on its activity.

It also called for ensuring public partnership in the project implementation process.

Dr Iftekharuzzaman said despite some positive initiatives by the BWDB to implement climate fund projects, there had been lack of good governance, transparency and ethics prevailing in general.

"The projects were implemented without meeting the standards," he said. "The information regarding the project implementation was not publicised as per relevant rules."

The level of corruption in the BWDB was alarming, he added.

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