More than 60 percent residents of the country’s city corporations and municipalities are unhappy with the civic amenities they are provided with, says a study conducted by Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).
Citizens from lower (C and B categories) categories of the municipalities are more dissatisfied than higher (A category) category of municipalities, it says.
Conducting a survey on 110 citizens of nine municipalities and two city corporations, it found 60 percent respondents are dissatisfied with the services of their respective municipalities and 65 percent respondents are unhappy with the services provided by their respective city corporations.
The study findings were revealed at dialogue on ‘Local Government Financing: Global Experience and Local Reality’ in the capital’s Brac Centre Inn, which was jointly organised by CPD and Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI).
Speaking on the occasion, team leader of the research and distinguished fellow of CPD Debapriya Bhattacharya said the new municipalities (mean C and B category municipalities) that mostly were formed on political grounds are now facing financial crisis and troubles in providing services.
“No one says poor people, professionals and businessmen other than landowners were benefited with the declaration of many new municipalities,” Debapriya said.
“Unfortunately, the development of local government what we had expected did not happen over the last four years under the incumbent government,” he lamented.
Depapriya said the elected representatives of the local government bodies are delivering better services than unelected administrators.
PM’s public administration adviser HT Imam spoke at the function as the chief guest. CPD trusty board member M Saidurzzaman presided.
CPD Executive Director Prof Mustafizur Rahman, former Vice Chancellor of Jahangirnagar University Prof Amirul Islam Chowdhury, Executive Director of Democracy Watch Taleya Rahman and Mayor of Habiganj municipality Prof Tofazzel Islam Chowdhury, among others, spoke at the dialogue.
HT Imam said the local government has gone many changes over the years since 1972, but those are sporadic. “There was tremendous centralisation of power under military governments,” he added.
Prof Amirul Islam said the new municipalities face tremendous financial crisis. “The control of the central government comes up when there’s no fiscal decentralisation.”
He, however, said the mayors hardly exercise whatever the autonomy they have.
“The local government bodies should concentrate on collecting more revenue without depending on government allocations,” Prof Amirul Islam added.
With the increase in the country’s population size, according to the study findings, the level of dissatisfaction among the citizen increases as the capacity of the municipalities are not being increased with the same pace.
It also identified poor quality services and highly politicization in the municipality affairs as the key reasons behind the public dissatisfaction.
Two keynote papers, ‘The effect of decentralization on corruption’ and ‘Fiscal decentralization in developing countries: challenges and prospects’ were presented at the function.