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Salary spike leaves little effect on graft, TIB study concludes

FE Report | Published: June 24, 2019 10:02:51 | Updated: June 24, 2019 17:10:59


The salary hike has hardly made any visible progress in checking corruption among the government employees, an anti-graft campaign group said.

Some 14.26 per cent of the national budget is spent on salaries and allowances of the public administration, but graft remains in place, the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) said in a study.

The government announced the eighth national salary scale in 2015.

The study revealed politicisation increased at an "alarming" rate and other influences are negatively affecting the services of bureaucracy.

The study titled 'Integrity in public administration: policies and practices', was unveiled at a press conference in the TIB headquarters in the city on Sunday.

TIB executive director Dr Iftekharuzzaman, advisor to executive management Prof Dr Sumaiya Khair, and director Mohammad Rafiqul Hassan attended the conference, among others.

Programme manager of the TIB Mohua Rouf presented the report.

There are 11 strategies in the National Integrity Strategy (NIS) related to the country's public administration.

The study said practice of five strategies is satisfactory, including government employees' incentives, reward, training, and a rational salary structure.

The practice of three strategies has not yet started, including the implementation of the whistle-blower protection law, performance-based evaluation system, and career development plan, the TIB report said.

Due to political and other effects, the practice of other strategies, including competitive promotion, was not applied, which creates a negative impact on the administration, the report noted.

Calling recruitment time-consuming, it estimated on an average 20 per cent of the posts remains vacant in the public administration in almost every year.

Between June 2018 and March 2019, data were collected, analysed and the report was prepared.

TIB officials interviewed various stakeholders such as officials of the ministry of public administration and Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), experts and journalists.

The study covered public servants' wealth information, the implementation of Public Interest Information Disclosure (Protection) Act 2011, the introduction of grievance redress system and e-governance, incentives, allowances, the enactment of the civil service law, and fixing a rational salary structure.

The spikes in salary and allowances of the public administration hardly resulted in "visible progress" in reducing corruption, the report said.

"Salary hike didn't help decline in corruption committed by the government officers and staff members," the study said, quoting a former finance minister on March 29 during the anti corruption week.

The study also presented a set of recommendations including the amendment to some laws, ensuring transparency in recruitment and promotion, and formulating the 'Career Development Plan' suitable for respective cadres.

In the 'Government Employment Act, 2018', the provision for taking permission to arrest civil servants has to be abolished and other risky clauses such as 6 (1) and 45 have to be amended, the study said.

In the 'Government Employment Act, 2018' the term 'government' should be replaced by the word 'republic', the report suggested.

Mr Iftekharuzzaman said there have been significant improvements in some points of the national integrated strategy related to enhancing the facilities for public servants.

But other points in the strategy, which are crucial for ensuring accountability and transparency, are still being overlooked, he said.

"Despite some progress, we are yet to get desired outcome in the NIS related to public administration," he said.

Criticising some clauses of the law, he said the name of the statute is conflicting with the country's constitution.

"We demand amending the name of the law to be public administration law," he said.

saif.febd@gmail.com

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