Information about Asia and the Pacific Asia y el Pacífico
Journal Issue

Bangladesh: Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Published Date:
March 2013
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Information about Asia and the Pacific Asia y el Pacífico
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Chapter 9: Implementing The Plan: The Challenges of Good Governance, Administrative Capacity, and Monitoring and Evaluation

Along with sound development strategy, good programs and good policies, the ability to implement the Plan and evaluate the results of the Plan are critical determinants of the success of the planning effort. Proper implementation of the Plan requires attention to good governance, public administration capacity and monitoring and evaluation. The challenge of ensuring good governance in Bangladesh is well known. Low public administration capacity, occasional weaknesses in economic management and corruption lie at the heart of the overall shortcoming in national governance. As a result, the public sector has not been able to play as effective a role as could have been the case in providing services and creating an environment for growth.

The Government understands that without fundamental reforms of core institutions, improvement in public administration capacity and a strong anti-corruption strategy, the ability to implement Vision 2021 and the underlying five year development plans will be seriously compromised. Similarly, an effective monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system is essential to monitor the implementation of the plan and associated programs. Without a solid M&E capability, there is a risk that resources might get locked in over the medium-term into programs that are not working or relevant in the changing economic environment. A strong M&E capacity is therefore an urgent national priority. The Government also recognizes that these are long-term challenges and require long-term coordinated and sustained efforts.

The Governance Challenge in Bangladesh

Governance has been conceptualized in a variety of ways and ranging from a very narrow to a very broad definition. Broadly defined governance reflects all rules and procedures, formal and informal, in economic, political and administrative spheres, organizational entities entrusted with formulating and implementing such rules of the game as well as macro, micro, or economy wide polices. A recent World Bank study outlines the principal dimensions of governance or institutional quality that includes: voice and accountability, political stability and absence of violence, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, rule of law and control of corruption25.

From a pragmatic point of view the quality of governance depends on the quality of institutions. A country that has good governance also has good institutions. Effectiveness of government institutions is imperative for good governance through which a country could achieve its policy targets and development goals. The governance issues, particularly the quality of government institutions, have important implications for long-term economic growth and poverty reduction in Bangladesh and other developing countries.

Measurement of Governance

The World Bank has developed quantitative indicators of governance covering the three dimensions of governance: political, economic and institutional, each of which is represented by two indexes.26

  • The political dimension, which is indicated by the two indexes namely, voice and accountability and political stability, relates to the process by which governments are selected, monitored and replaced.
  • The economic dimension, which is also indicated by two indexes, viz, government effectiveness and regulatory quality, represent the ability of the government to design and execute policies and deliver public services. Government effectiveness is a composite measure of efficiency and independence of the bureaucracy, the quality of the public service provided and the credibility of polices. The regulatory quality indicates the degree of market friendliness of the policies or the distortions introduced by them.
  • The institutional dimension of governance is summarized by the rule of law and control of corruption. The rule of law index reflects to what extent rules are adhered to, contracts are enforced and deviations are penalized. It encompasses the juridical environment in which the economic activities are carried on. The control of corruption refers to the extent to which incumbents use public office for private gain; it includes petty and grand corruption and the degree of state capture.

The rankings for Bangladesh on these governance indicators ranking are low. Moreover, there has been little improvement over time. The coexistence of poor governance as measured by this approach with good progress with most development indicators in Bangladesh has led many to think of Bangladesh as a development paradox. However, there are many unanswered questions including the appropriateness of the governance indicators, measurement biases and causality, to draw such a drastic conclusion. The progress with past development is explained by the implementation of many good policies and some institutions that have grown well. All these suggest that looking for simple correlation between any specific quantitative measures of governance and development progress is fraught with risks.

Governance, which mostly deals with institutions, is a long-term challenge. There is very little debate that good institutions are necessary for sustaining higher growth and progress with other indicators of development including poverty reduction and social equity. Bangladesh has instituted good policies and made progress with a number of institutions that have helped secure progress with development since independence. But there is a long way to go to achieve middle class status and further progress with the development of good institutions will be critical for that. So, the governance challenge moving forward is the need to establish institutions that support the sustainability of the development effort including restoring the gains from missed opportunities. These require that governance, measured in terms of progress with institution building and reduction of corruption, must improve continuously. Good institutions like the rule of law, a functioning judiciary, accountable and effective public service agencies, sound government agencies dealing with finance, taxation, planning, public administration and monetary policies are essential to ensure sustained progress with development.

Sixth Plan Strategy for Addressing the Governance Challenges

The Government recognizes that the lack of good governance is felt in all sectors of the economy to a varying degree and their manifestations are also different. Unless there is improvement in overall governance poor people will suffer from deprivation, service delivery will be remain poor, and economic opportunities will be limited. To achieve the goals of vision 2021 and underlying development plans and programs it is imperative to improve governance by strengthening institutions and reducing corruption.

The Government also recognizes that Bangladesh’s citizens are entitled to expect good governance as an end unto itself. Citizens expect the Government to ensure the delivery of key public goods and services, such as safety and security of person and property or regulation of elements of the market. Citizens can also expect that the Government carries out its duties transparently, without corruption, and in due consultation with stakeholders in society. Attaining better governance requires stronger public sector institutions which are able to carry out their functions effectively and in the public interest. Institutions need an effective system for recruiting and retaining human resources, efficient deployment of these resources at national and local levels, and ever increasing capacity, including through the use of ICT. At the same time, institutions need to have robust accountability mechanisms, both through checks and balances within the government and feedback mechanisms for society at large. Accountability spurs better performance and counters corruption and inefficiency.

The Plan prioritizes actions to build underlying systems for the public sector’s operation which over time should lead to better performance. It also focuses on strengthening some key institutions which are critical to good governance. Improving governance is a continual process that is not linear, with sustained achievement occurring gradually over a long period of time. The Plan will put into motion feasible actions in the next five years that in turn will lead to better practices and stronger institutions of governance.

The Vision: The vision envisages a public sector with strong independent institutions of accountability, a high degree of transparency and responsiveness to the people, strong systems for managing human and financial resources which ensure delivery of quality services to the people’s doorsteps.

Governance Achievements to Date

A number of important steps have taken place in recent years to improve governance. Notable among these are:

  • Implementing Digital Bangladesh, a comprehensive set of initiatives to massively expand the Government’s use of ICT to improve efficiency and effectiveness as well as institute greater transparency and improved communications mechanisms with citizens.
  • Safeguarding electoral democracy through ensuring a strong, independent Election Commission which has overseen free, fair, competitive elections at national and multiple local levels.
  • Developing a national identification system and cards which eases transactions for citizens.
  • Streamlining and simplifying institutions (establishments, conventions and rules and regulations), eliminating administrative barriers, deregulating bureaucratic procedures.
  • Developing one-stop services, modernizing administration through regulatory reforms.
  • Increasing transparency and accountability in the budget and procurement processes, government auditing, and customs and tax administration.
  • Improving the ability of elected local government to contribute to local development and to be responsive to citizens’ needs and priorities, including through an enhanced transfer system and reinstituting elected government at the upazila level.
  • Working with the business community to implement codes of conduct and undertake deregulation and legal/procedural reform;
  • Building a coalition with the media, and civil society and the private sector to strengthen their role as watchdog and also undertake public awareness campaigns and advocacy programs.
  • Establishing a framework to counter prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism.
  • Establishing and operating a legal framework to counter corruption through national and international channels, including joining and regularly reporting on the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).
  • Introducing the ‘Citizen Charter’ by the ministries and agencies to enhance accountability.
  • Passage of a strong Right to Information Act and corresponding rules and a strong program for implementation in which over 7000 information officers have already been designated in public authorities ensure that their services reach the people.

The Government recognizes that while these are important building blocks to better governance, further efforts are needed to establish a coherent governance improvement plan with well defined priorities and concrete actions. During the Sixth Plan the efforts to improve governance will focus on the following priority areas.

a) Making parliamentary process effective

The Parliament plays a pivotal role in promoting good governance through its ability to legislate and to hold the executive accountable through the budget process and scrutinizing actions undertaken by the Government. Measures to be taken to strengthen Parliament’s role are:

  • i) Increasing the number of hearings open to the public, particularly of important budgetary committees such as the Public Accounts committee.
  • ii) Promoting standards for policy debate.
  • iii) Ensuring greater cross-party representation in standing committees and encouraging multi-party participation in formal reviews of Government actions.

b) Strengthening local governments

The current local governance initiatives if well implemented could develop effective systems of public participation as well as accountability that will ensure that government servants are responsible to elected officials, and elected officials are in turn responsible to their constituency. The Government has already been taking steps to strengthen local governments. Efficient and dedicated local government bodies can deliver services and generate social and economic awareness to achieve the national goals. Local government reforms are discussed in greater detail in Section 2.

c) Reforming public services

The public service reform aimed at establishing a high performing civil service is fundamental to improving the governance scenario. This is one of the core government strategies to improve governance. A strong civil service will be of utmost importance to strengthening implementation capacity of the government at both the national and local levels. The reform includes improving recruitment and promotion procedures that emphasize quality and merit, ensure increased participation of women at decision making levels through application of quota, undertaking of continuous on the job training, defining civil service code of conduct to address problems of corruption, and developing institutional mechanisms to reduce patronage and political pressure. Formulations of the Civil Service Act addressing promotions, transfers and placement policies and the Public Administration Reform Road Map (2010-2014) are underway. Besides, capacity building initiatives of the administration on gender related issues will also be mainstreamed in the process. Civil service reform issues are reviewed in greater detail in Section 2.

d) Controlling corruption

Corruption wastes national resources, causes social inequities, and creates distrust among people. The Government recognizes the importance of tackling corruption and is aggressively seeking to reduce the opportunities for corruption through increasing use of e-governance tools, mandating the development of citizens charters that spell out what citizens can expect, as well as shifting the operations of Government onto a more transparent basis and providing citizens with a mechanism to exercise their right to information. The Government has also acceded to the UN Convention against Corruption and is working to improve the legislative framework and capacity in government counter money laundering, a key feature that encourages corruption to fester. These efforts will be sustained.

The Government recognizes that in addition to preventive efforts there needs to be a credible threat of prosecution for corruption in order to deter officials from abuse. At the same time, there must be a strong framework for investigating and prosecuting corruption that allows for enforcement while at the same time ensuring due process and accountability of the entity fighting corruption. The Anti-Corruption Commission will thus be put on a more sustainable footing by providing it with clear independence to carry out investigations and prosecute, but with high levels of accountability to other public authorities to ensure that its actions are unbiased and in the public interest.

At the same time, the Government will initiate a sustained campaign to create public awareness and education in preventive measures, creating the right conditions for the public sector to enhance public service delivery. The Government will put in place some key reforms, such as introducing legislation and practices that will enhance the transparency of fiscal operations of the government.

e) Strengthening the Election Commission

As a flourishing democracy, in Bangladesh elections are the fundamental mechanism for ensuring government accountability. It is through the people’s choice through free and fair elections that government has legitimacy. It is through these same elections that the people are able to communicate their needs and aspirations which in turn must be met by government. The integrity of the electoral process is of utmost importance in ensuring good governance in Bangladesh.

There have been strong strides in developing electoral democracy. The establishment of a reliable voter lists and issuance of individual ID cards were major achievements that underpinned the widely acclaimed 2008 Parliamentary elections. Subsequent elections to various tiers of local government as well as by-elections to Parliament have been held in an open, free, competitive, and highly credible manner. The Government remains committed to ensuring that elections in the future meet the highest standards of fairness and openness.

The key institution ensuring the high quality of elections has been the functioning of a nonpartisan, competent Election Commission which serves as custodian for the voter list and the election process. The Government will establish a mechanism for selection of members of the Commission that lays out clear criteria for nonpartisanship, competence, and independence in order to sustain the independence of the institution.

f) Judicial Reforms

An effective system for ensuring justice is a critical component of a well-governed state. An effective judiciary is able to enforce common “rules of the game” which increases investor confidence and economic activity that leads to growth and ultimately poverty reduction. At the same time, an impartial judiciary is integral to ensuring the protection of the rights of citizens especially the vulnerable group including the poor, the women, and other socially disadvantageous groups.

The Government and the Judiciary itself have supported several steps to improve the quality and pace of the civil justice delivery system as well as make the system more accessible to the users, particularly to the disadvantaged, women and children. In particular, it has supported the development of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms, legal aid services and training programs for the judges and court support staff. There has also been an attempt to bring the legal community including the judges and the people of the legal profession under the canopy of the National Legal Aid Organization having the responsibility of offering pro- poor services to the impoverished and the vulnerable people. The judiciary was also separated from the executive with effect from 1 November 2007. All courts have been placed under the Supreme Court.

Despite this progress the Government is aware of the need to further strengthen the judiciary to improve the quality and pace of service delivery. The separation of judiciary from the executive has not yet brought expected results as there remain a number of areas that need to be resolved.

The vision for the development of the Judiciary is to have a more efficient, transparent system of delivering justice for the citizens of Bangladesh. In this context the key reforms envisaged under the Sixth Plan include:

  • Appointment of an Ombudsman with sufficient staff as guaranteed by the Article 77 of the Constitution.
  • Establishing clear, transparent criteria and process for the recruitment and selection system ensuring competent judges are selected.
  • Ensuring that the incentives in terms of pay and service conditions are appropriate to create an environment for dedicated services.
  • The Judicial Service Commission and its Secretariat will be equipped to monitor the performance of all judges and undertake evaluation on the basis of objective criteria.
  • Improving the work environment in the courts with proper office equipment and required support staff.
  • Establishing a separate pay commission to formulate a separate salary structure for officials of judicial services reflecting the nature of their job and consistent with public sector compensation policy.
  • Similar to the case with other public officers, introducing a system where judges have to reveal assets and properties belonging to them and their family members at the time of entry, during the tenure intermittently and after leaving the office.
  • Streamlining administrative procedure of the court so that they are easily understood, and arbitrary decision making by court staff is minimized.
  • Introducing a computerized court case recording and tracking system and make the information accessible to people through the website.
  • Enable NGOs to work to facilitate access to the judicial system by the poor, women and vulnerable people and in building awareness among them.
  • Alternative dispute settlement mechanisms will be strengthened by regulating them by formal and traditional laws. Formal alternative dispute resolution mechanisms could be attached to courts or to government agencies, such as land and labor boards.

g) Promoting E-governance

The Digital Bangladesh initiative championed by the Prime Minster will be a key instrument to improve governance. International experience amply demonstrates the potential of electronic governance (E-governance). In the recent years ICT sector has shown some promise but adoption of ICT has been limited. Recently national broadband policy has been framed. However, to promote E-governance a lot more needs to be done27.

The e-governance vision for SFYP is that citizens will be able to receive comprehensive information and conduct most simple transactions with government agencies using ICT. Actions to be undertaken under the Sixth Plan in pursuit of this vision are:

  • Formulating and implementing a comprehensive strategy to provide the maximum amount of information as well as forms, applications, and other documentation which citizens need to file online by all ministries/agencies.
  • Adoption of an ICT legal and operational framework which provides for interoperability of Government systems, privacy and security controls for use of information.
  • Establishing a nodal unit responsible for monitoring and evaluating the rolling out of e-governance tools.
  • Enhancing local connectivity, including measures to ensure access of the poor and other disadvantaged groups.
  • Digitizing key records and instituting effective digital processing of ongoing cases/processes and providing for easier access to the public of these records as appropriate, notably property registers, court management, and tax administration.
  • Continuing capacity building of officials at all levels.
  • Overall coordination of these initiatives, and leadership on developing the legal and operational framework, will be carried out by the Prime Minister’s Office with support from the Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC). Implementation of capacity building and improvement of infrastructure will be undertaken by the BCC. Digitization efforts will be the responsibility of the respective ministries/agencies.

h) Improving project implementation capacity

The Government is acutely aware of the need to continuously upgrade project implementation capacity. In this context following measures will be taken:

  • Shifting from the existing project-by-project approach to a more program and results based approach that is better linked with the plan and the medium-term budgetary framework.
  • Bringing improvement in project quality through more realistic project design, better assessment of implementation capacity, and more realistic costing.
  • Project directors would be given more authority for accelerating the ADP implementation.
  • Aid disbursement procedures would be simplified.
  • Procurement of goods and services would be made on a timely basis with due regard to qualitative and governance aspects of procurement.
  • Emphasis will be placed on strengthening the capacity of government officials regarding project implementation through proper assignment of staff, through better training, and through better accountability.
  • Management information system would be introduced and made operational so that implementation status is monitored at least on a quarterly basis.
  • Greater attention will be given to make project implementation results-based and not just a matter of speedier use of public funds.

i) Improving sectoral governance

Corruption at the sectoral and entity levels is also a major governance issue. Therefore sectoral level anticorruption strategies would be formulated that would focus on minimizing risks in the flow of goods and services. Special emphasis will be placed on improving governance in areas where the scope for corruption and rent seeking are particularly prominent, including tax administration, land administration, and basic service delivery institutions such as health, education, population and nutrition. E-governance will be introduced in these areas and capacity of sectoral Ministries and agencies will be strengthened on effective delivery services ensuring participation of beneficiaries.

j) Enhancing transparency and access to information

Improving the provision of information by the Government is a key tool for improving service provision and opportunities for the people, especially for the poor. A better informed population is better equipped to make sure that the services provided are done so efficiently and reach their intended beneficiaries. People are also more able to take advantage of the rights afforded to them by the State. A better informed population is also more likely to be in a position to participate constructively in the economy as well as in interacting with Government in policy and decision-making. Greater information about the laws, regulations, and decisions also help citizens comply and serves the purpose of strengthening rule of law.

Transparency is a key instrument for hold Government accountable for its performance. Openness of the budget, financial management, audit, and performance information associated with service delivery empowers the population to ensure that the public sector is working in their interest. It is an important mechanism to deter corruption as well as enlisting society at large in identifying and taking measures against corruption should it occur.

The Government underscored its commitment to transparency in many ways, most notably through passage of the Right to Information Act 2009 which provides a strong framework for citizens to access information. It provides for a detailed process to apply for information from all public authorities and seek remedy when information is not applied. It also places an obligation on all public bodies to disclose proactively a wide range of information. Pursuant to the law, it established an independent Information Commission which has taken an active role in promoting the usage of the Act. A result of the Digital Bangladesh agenda has been the increased provision of information through Government agencies’ websites as well as innovative use of SMS over cell phones. In addition, public finances have become far more transparent with the immediate publication and dissemination through its website of quarterly budget execution reports. Government policy has become more transparent with increased use of technology to solicit comments and discussion on drafted bills prior to approval in the Cabinet and discussion in Parliament. The Government wants to build on these initiatives, particularly in carrying out proactive disclosure and encouraging applications for information under the Right to Information Act (RTI).

The Plan’s vision is to build a culture of Government openness that guarantees citizens’ right to information about the public sector. Important actions to be undertaken in pursuit of that vision are:

  • Establishing a central office for providing support to, and overseeing implementation of, proactive disclosure of information required by the RTI Act by all Government agencies;
  • Ensuring that Government agencies have duly appointed designated information officers with corresponding training and equipment to carry out their functions
  • Integrating training on right to information into overall civil service training
  • Providing the human and technical resources for the Information Commission to carry out all of its appellate and other responsibilities, including capacity to monitor overall compliance with provisions of the RTI Act.
  • Developing facilitation centers through public-private partnerships to help direct the filing of information requests in conjunction with the Digital Bangladesh agenda.

The central office to be established to oversee implementation within Government together with the Information Commission will be charged with responsibility for this aspect of the Plan’s governance strategy.

k) Protecting human rights

Notwithstanding laws prohibiting discrimination in society, inadequate enforcement brings suffering for the weaker section of the society. Here the state role is central and rights can be safeguarded with an independent judiciary, adequate legislation and establishment of democratic institutions. Although the National Human Rights Commission Ordinance 2007 has been approved and an independent human rights commission exists, occasional violation of fundamental rights does happen. Much has to be achieved in this regard. The Sixth Plan will take further actions to protect the basic rights of the citizens.

Developing Administrative Capacity

Good governance and sound administrative capacity are interlinked. A government that works in terms of having a solid administrative capacity to deliver basic public services is more likely to earn the respect of the citizens and more likely to be responsive to changing needs than a government with weak administrative capacity. The ability to implement the Sixth Plan will critically depend upon the ability to strengthen public administrative capacity.

Public Service Delivery Challenge

Bangladesh is generally credited with a positive scorecard for putting the broad expenditure priorities on a right track. Successive governments have emphasized social spending relative to defense spending and other non-productive expenditures. This has served Bangladesh well and partly explains why Bangladesh has done well in improving its social indicators. Yet, it is also clear that there is considerable scope for both improving the equity and the quality of public spending in Bangladesh. Evidence suggests that health and education spending are not well targeted to the poor and does not adequately address the gender-based needs. Similarly, there is considerable corruption and leakage in public spending.

The poor quality of public service delivery can be attributed to the inadequate capacity of the civil service as well as to the regulatory burden of many inappropriate policies, rules and procedures. Reports from International NGOs such as the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) suggest that corruption in Bangladesh is especially endemic in social sectors including education and health. Absenteeism of service provider is a serious problem in rural Bangladesh. Moreover the service quality of the providers in terms of impact on schooling and health outcomes is often weak. There are similar concerns of poor service delivery relating to electricity, water supply and sanitation.

A part of the reason for weak administrative capacity is the weakness of the civil service system. But another reason is the heavily centralized service delivery mechanism. Public administration in Bangladesh is heavily centralized. Local governments are weak, with little administrative and financial authority. Consequently, the setting of expenditure priorities, allocation of resources, procurement of goods and services, and the implementation of projects are largely centralized at the ministry level in the capital city of Dhaka.

At both the central and local levels, day-to-day general administration is run by the civil servants. Over time, though, the quality of civil service weakened. The pay and benefits also fell drastically in real terms. Currently, the civil service is facing serious challenges including low quality, poor remuneration, weak accountability and corruption.

Sixth Plan Strategy for Public Administration Capacity Development

Several areas of intervention have been initiated by the Government to bring efficiency, transparency and accountability in public service management. These actions will be further developed and strengthened during the Sixth Plan period. The Government recognizes that capacity creation for implementation of development initiatives should be broadly conceived to develop strategic partnerships with private sector and NGOs who can provide technical, financial and implementation support in a wide range of areas that are traditionally conceived as belonging to the public sector domain. Indeed the positive experience of Bangladesh with public-private partnerships in the delivery of basic education, health and population management services is an excellent example how stronger partnerships would help with the implementation of the Sixth Plan.

The Sixth Plan’s strategy for capacity development consists of four key pillars: firstly, strengthening the civil service; secondly, promoting devolution to local governments; thirdly building partnerships with private sector and NGOs; and finally improving the planning and budgeting process.

a) Civil service reform: An effective civil service is the backbone of a well-functioning State. This requires having a proper mix of incentives to reward good performance and sanction poor performance and well articulated, functioning systems for recruitment, training, advancement, and retention of civil servants. Achieving these goals require a long-term, gradual effort. Implementation of changes must be carefully planned with flexibility to adjust reforms based on experience and immediate needs for continuity in the functioning of Government. There is no one size fits all approach to civil service reform, but rather a set of principles of well-functioning civil service that can be obtained in a variety of ways. Reforms must be based on homegrown solutions which evolve from within Bangladesh about what works and what does not.

There have been numerous efforts to reform the civil service in the past that have suffered from inadequate implementation. As a result, the civil service system is regulated by a mix of rules and guidelines that provide limited incentives for performance. Systems for setting performance goals and evaluation are weak and opaque resulting in promotion and rotation of staff based on criteria other than performance. The civil service has also become vulnerable to political interference that at times has clouded its ability to serve the general public interest.

The Government recognizes the need for a long term program to rebuild the civil service in order to provide more structure for the development of the civil service and to put into motion gradual adjustments to the incentives for performance of the civil service. It has developed a Roadmap for Civil Service Reform 2010-2014 that identifies key priorities and areas in which to undertake reform. It has drafted a Civil Service Act, for the first time establishing such a framework in one location at the level of an Act. The draft outlines ethical requirements as well as the framework for promotions and lateral recruitment, as well as mandates the development of detailed rules on all key aspects of the civil service to implement the Act.

The vision for the Sixth Plan is to build a framework for the civil service that systematically rewards performance and merit and reduces external political influence. Achievement of this vision should lead to qualitative improvements in how civil servants carry out their functions and hence improve service delivery. At the same time, the Plan recognizes that reforms in this area are both far reaching and extremely nuanced given that the interests of many individuals are tied up into the system of civil service. Moreover, the reforms must be carried out in a manner which ensures minimum disruption to the ongoing functions of Government. The Plan calls for several actions, implementation will involve an evolutionary approach with substantial testing of changes and widespread consultations.

Key actions to be taken with an indicative timeframe are:

  • Drafting, consultations, and passage of the Civil Service Act and implementing regulations.
  • Drafting rules for recruitment to allow for increased recruitment laterally into mid-level and higher level civil service positions, modernization of testing for new recruit batches.
  • Revising rules for the formation of the Public Service Commission to minimize opportunity for political influence, and other measures to increase its capacity (prior to completion of the current term of Commissioners)
  • Developing greater opportunities for on-the-job training and classroom-based training with linkage between training and criteria for career advancement.
  • Revising the civil servants’ code of conduct to address issues of corruption, accountability and performance, including consideration of an enhanced asset declaration regime.
  • Strengthening and clarifying the Rules of Business so that civil servants could work with clear terms of reference promoting accountability.
  • Reforming civil servants’ performance evaluation through emphasis on establishing clearer annual work objectives and performance on these objectives and greater differentiation of annual evaluations and having promotion depend more directly on performance evaluations.
  • Revising the civil service payment system to allow for less compression of pay and retention of persons with unusual, needed skills, as well as streamlining the system of benefits.
  • Institutionalizing the citizen’s charter to provide regular feedback on public services.

The nodal agency for carrying out these reforms is the Ministry of Establishment. Reforms to strengthen the Public Service Commission will be led by the Commission itself in conjunction with the Ministry of Establishment.

b) Devolution to local governments: A strong local government that has well defined responsibilities and accountabilities can play a major positive role in delivering basic public services. Elected local government is often better positioned to respond to the needs and preference of the local population. Particularly at the lowest Union Parishad level, local government offers an opportunity for genuine popular participation in the public governance. The closeness to the people means that local government can serve as a key instrument to fulfill Government’s goal of bringing services to the doorsteps of the people. As it is directly interacting with the people, local government also have an important role in delivering programs and building public awareness which in turn meet national objectives as well, such as poverty reduction, disaster management, delivery of social protection services, and support for local economic development.

Harnessing the potential of local government to improve services for the people requires that it have a legal framework that provides a clear mandate for certain services and the human and financial resources to carry out that mandate. The Government has taken several steps to support local governments. It passed revised legislation providing for the functions and operations of Pourashavas, union parishads, and upazila parishads. It has equipped local governments with equipment, particularly in establishing Union Information Service Centers. Nonetheless, the roles of local government at all levels remain relatively small due to the concentration of resources and service delivery through line agencies accountable to central Government rather than locally elected councils and chairpersons. Local governments play a coordinating role and contribute to local development, but have few responsibilities for ongoing service delivery. Rigid guidelines which limit local discretion in determining staffing needs, particularly for Union Parishads, means that local governments lack flexibility to meet local needs.

Empowering local government to play a more prominent role in local development requires the transfer of authority for some services with commensurate resources. However, this process should be gradual and allow for constant monitoring of the utility and appropriateness of such a transfer, building on the existing capacity of local governments to taken on new responsibility. This capacity will be dictated by both the skills and ability of the local government officials and the effectiveness of measures whereby the people can hold them accountable to ensure performance which meets most closely the public interest of a given locality.

The vision for the Plan is to have local governments delivering greater volume and quality of public services to their respective communities. There will be differentiation in service responsibilities between urban and rural local government, between large city corporations and Pourashavas. Care will be given to avoid overlap between local governments at the primary level and at intermediate tiers upazilas and eventually zilas.

The main elements of the strategy to achieve this vision for local governments are:

  • Enhancing the legal framework for the functioning of local governments at the union, Pourashava, city corporation, and upazila levels through establishing clear service responsibilities, ensuring discretion of local governments to carry out their service responsibilities within national standards, devolution of administrative control over ensuring service provision in the areas which are assigned to respective local governments, providing for a greater discretionary financial base including robust local revenues and a transparent, a predictable system of intergovernmental fiscal transfers with, and provision of greater discretion in staffing to meet the administrative responsibilities at the local level.
  • Increasing the transparency and improving the accountability of local governments by establishing indicators and standards for measuring performance in service delivery at local level, broadening the role of oversight institutions which would perform financial and service delivery audits, and investigating corruption and irregularities and make the reports available to public.
  • Building the capacity of local governments through assignment of proper officials, technical assistance and training programs.
  • Developing planning and budgeting capacities at the local level to help design and implement local level programs.
  • Expanding the role of citizen committees and strengthening participation of the citizens from different groups, including women and the poor, in prioritizing, implementing and monitoring of development program and other functions of the local government to ensure that local level development programs are appropriate and that these are well implemented.
  • Establishing E-governance at the local level through a well designed program of ICT hardware and software, technical assistance and training programs.

The Local Government, Rural Development & Cooperatives Ministry will have primary responsibility for implementation of the strategy to strengthen local government. A standing Local Government Commission with representation from key ministries involved with local service provision as well as associations of local governments will design and monitor changes to the legal framework. Implementation of the Plan’s elements will have to be coordinated with sectoral development strategies, particularly for social services. As in the case of civil service system, the local government system will need to be commensurate with the socio-political environment and the realities of Bangladesh.

c) Public-private partnership: While the Government has primary responsibility for carrying out the Plan, it recognizes the need to tap into the skills and capacity of the private and nongovernmental sector to bring about more effective development. In particular, it will promote public-private partnership as a key element of good governance. The Government has already put emphasis on public- private partnership (PPP) to ensure expeditious development of infrastructure and utility services by attracting local and foreign investment and improving the expertise and technology. Through a well-laid out policy mechanism, private initiative would be encouraged to promote quality service delivery in the area of essential economic infrastructure. The Government is keen to encourage private investments in energy and power, roads, waterways, railways, ports, water and sanitation, telecommunications/ICT, housing and tourism. The Government will explore opportunities to enter into PPP initiatives in the social sector as well. The use of PPP for essential social and economic infrastructure will enhance the quality of services and relieve the strain on the government budget.

Bangladesh has demonstrated significant success in augmenting private investment and fostering public-private partnership to render efficient delivery of utility services. The private sector has presence in road and waterways to cater to the need of transportation of passengers and cargo. Power generation and petroleum exploration have been opened to private operation since the 1990s. Almost one-third of power generation comes from the IPPs. The private companies together supply one-third of gas to the national gas grid. The energy sector will be further liberalized for improving its service delivery to consumers. In the telecommunications sector, private companies dominate the provision of mobile phone services under Government licensing. Private operators are encouraged to extend fiber optic lines across the country for the development of speedy internet facilities nationwide. Certain functions of rail transportation are already privatized. Closed branch lines will be offered to the private sector for resumption of services in those sections. The Government is considering allowing profit-operations of providers of water and sanitation services in Pourashavas and urban slums.

Government-NGO cooperation is fruitful in areas where expectation of profit is not high to attract profit-making private operators. More importantly, Government-NGO cooperation can improve efficiency in the management of service delivery of some essential services. The NGOs are involved in the delivery of several basic services such as education, health, water supply and sanitation. These positive experiences in the social sectors can be utilized to forge wider cooperation in other areas, such as providing water in Pourashavas and slums, cleaning and waste disposal in cities, rural energy supply programs, creation of service facilities in the urban cities, development of recreational facilities around urban river banks, and building shelter houses for the poor.

The cooperation with NGOs has also been successful in activities like cleaning city roads and disposal of waste under the Clean Dhaka initiative. Some NGOs are processing city wastes for making composts for farming. Several government organizations (REB, BPDB, LGED and IDCOL) and NGOs (Grameen Shakti) have been engaged in popularizing and prorating renewable energy projects/programs in the rural areas. Cities and Pourashavas can undertake joint venture with NGOs for development of urban service facilities like sanitary toilets, auditoriums and libraries. River banks adjacent to cities and towns could be leased out through open solicitation to NGOs and private operators for plantation and development of park and recreational facilities.

During the Sixth Plan the Government will continue to seek and strengthen synergies with the private and nongovernmental sectors to improve service delivery and ensure contribution of all parts of society in the country’s development.

(d) Reforming planning and budgetary processes: In an environment of weak administrative capacity and limited budgetary resources, efficient planning and budgetary systems can play an important role in helping improve the efficiency of public spending. The Government has been taking a number of steps to improve planning and budgetary processes. One major initiative is the implementation of a move away from the traditional incremental budgeting towards a medium term budget framework (MTBF) process. The MTBF is intended to support the implementation of development plans by (i) ensuring that the government’s fiscal management contributes to macroeconomic stability and supports an enabling environment for economic growth and poverty reduction; and (ii) adequate public resources are allocated through a more strategic and policy-led budget planning process directed towards priority programs identified in the context of the approved medium-term development plan. A second initiative is to move away from the traditional public-investment focused plans to more strategic indicative planning process that puts emphasis on strategies, programs and policies for the entire economy. A third initiative is to link better the medium-term development plans to the MTBF process by making the plan a living document with annual review of performance and ensuring the consistency of development resource allocation on an annual cycle with the MTBF and the Plan.

The Sixth Plan will further improve the planning and budgetary processes by building on the above initiatives. Specifically, following actions will be taken:

  • The Sixth Five Year Plan already makes a fundamental shift in the planning process by making the public investments as indicative and focusing much more deeply on growth, employment and poverty reduction strategies, policies and programs. This indicative plan will serve as a living document through instituting a system of annual review of development performance and plan implementation. The performance review will focus on implementation of strategies and policies and look at broad economy-wide and sectoral outcomes rather than simply at financial progress of publicly funded investment projects. The results of the annual reviews will be shared with the cabinet and used to determine changes in plan goals, targets, strategies and policies as necessary in light of the changing global and local economy and the results of the plan implementation.
  • The capacities of line ministries will be substantially strengthened to do proper planning and budgeting in the context of the implementation of the MTBF. Line ministries will need to ensure that proposed projects and programs are consistent with the objectives and framework of the Sixth Plan.
  • Project approval process will be strengthened and streamlined to reduce delays and proliferation of tiny projects.
  • Project approval at the Planning Commission level will be substantially strengthened. All projects that go to the Planning Commission must provide a proper appraisal report along with sound analysis that shows the consistency and relevance of the project to sectoral/economy-wide objectives, strategies and policies. The appraisal report will do proper economic and financial analysis of the proposed project, do gender and environmental analysis as relevant, and show an implementation plan while providing clear evidence of implementation capacity.
  • Proliferation of projects and long implementation lags are a perennial problem. The Sixth Plan will seek to break this logjam by doing a proper review of all approved and active projects in the pipeline in cooperation with the line Ministries. The review of this portfolio stock will seek to clean out dormant or irrelevant projects and help line ministries close the projects that are facing implementation problems through restructuring or through other relevant interventions. The results of this exercise will be shared with the cabinet for endorsement and approval.
  • The technical capacities of the Ministry of Finance and the Planning Commission will be substantially strengthened through proper staffing and training to ensure the timely implementation of the Sixth Plan and the MTBF. All efforts will be made to strengthen coordination between these two core ministries with a view to avoiding duplication, overlap and delays.

Strengthening the Focus on Results Through Enhanced Monitoring and Evaluation

The Government of Bangladesh understands that an effective monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system is essential to monitor the implementation of the plan and associated programs. Without a solid M&E capability, there is a risk that resources might get locked in over the medium-term into programs that are not working or relevant in the changing economic environment. A strong M&E capacity is therefore an urgent national priority. The Government also recognizes that M&E is only useful when accompanied by a results oriented mindset that promotes the use of information for evidence based decision making. An important step in instilling a culture of results across government agencies and programs is the introduction of a development results framework to monitor the core set of development outcomes that the Sixth Five Year Plan seeks to achieve.

Monitoring and evaluation promotes accountability and transparency in public spending, and ensures that resources are adequately used to achieve development results. Governments use different tracking systems as part of their management of development programs and policies. The ‘three legged stool’ of good human resource system, financial system and accountability system are imperative for effective and efficient public sector management. A results-based M&E system links public spending and achievements of objectives, which in turn implies the inclusion of a ‘fourth leg’ into the system that reinforces good governance. Monitoring gives information about the current status of a policy, program, or project relative to respective targets and outcomes whereas evaluation gives evidence of whether targets and outcomes are or are not being achieved.

M&E essentially helps the government to measure the quantity, quality and targeting of outputs (goods and services) and measure how the outputs are impacting the lives of the common masses. M&E can be focused on tracking financial/physical implementation or on results. Implementation-focused M&E are mostly intended to investigate compliance, but results-based approach focuses on outcomes and impact. Of particular emphasis is the need to extend the traditional financial/physical implementation based M&E to focus explicitly on outcomes and impacts.

M&E Framework in Bangladesh

Presently in Bangladesh the main focus of M&E is on tracking spending. The Government’s Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Department (IMED) is the apex body that tracks the public sector development programs28. The prime function of IMED is to monitor and evaluate the implementation of development projects to ensure their proper implementation. Monitoring is used to oversee the implementation process, identify the challenges in terms of quality, time and costs. In the process it also provides recommendations for improvement.

The key stakeholders for the IMED include NEC, ECNEC, ministries/divisions and other autonomous state bodies. The Project Inspection Instruction Manual (1995) and In-depth Monitoring Circular (2010) provide the guiding principles for implementation and inspection. IMED has a role in every aspect of the project cycle- from project preparation (pre-project) to project completion and impact evaluation. In the pre-project phase, IMED basically suggests improvement as member of the project approving committees of the Planning Commission and Departmental Project Evaluation Committees (DPEC) of the Line Ministries. During implementation phase, IMED monitors progress to ensure timely and quality implementation. It has evolved a system of information flow from projects, agencies and ministries for effective monitoring which consist of: (a) periodic reports, (b) procurement reports, (c) field inspections, (d) monthly coordination/review meetings, (e) special meetings with the Project Directors. Information so collected are processed and analyzed on a monthly, quarterly & annual basis to review implementation performance of ministries/divisions which is followed by macro reviews at the NEC, the ECNEC and by the Prime Minister. In the post implementation phase, terminal evaluation reports are prepared by IMED on all projects immediately on completion. It contains an analysis of the project progress with recommendations. It also commissions ex-post evaluation of selected projects for assessing their impacts on the community and the lessons learned are used in future project design and implementation.

IMED monitors more than 1200 projects under the Annual Development Program and evaluates around 200 projects on an annual basis. Under the ADP implementation status IMED publishes monthly, quarterly and annual progress reports for all the ministries and also for the top 10 ministries with largest allocations. The main reports emanating from the IMED are: i) Monthly performance evaluation of projects of the Ministries/Divisions, ii) Quarterly performance evaluation reports of ADP included projects, iii) Annual review report on ADP implementation, iv) Annual project evaluation reports, v) Impact assessment reports conducted by the external bodies

The basic thrust of IMED’s M&E activities is identification of implementation problems and their timely resolution to accelerate project progress. All the reports prepared by IMED contain implementation problems and suggestions for action. These are discussed in review meetings held at the Ministry, the NEC and the ECNEC. The process is expected to resolve project problems in time.

Towards A Results-Based M&E System

While the IMED plays a useful function in tracking financial and physical implementation of projects, there is a major gap in terms of results-based M&E. In the backdrop of national and international stakeholders seeking increased accountability, transparency and most importantly results from governments and organization, globally the emphasis is shifting more towards results-based M&E system. This demand is also growing in Bangladesh. Accordingly, the Sixth Plan aims to take specific steps to move towards a results-based M&E. The result based system moves beyond the traditional input-output focused M&E and when used effectively helps policy makers analyze outcomes and impacts. It turns out to be a powerful public management tool that can be used by governments and organizations to demonstrate accountability, transparency, and results. They help the government in building solid knowledge base. The system can also bring about major political and cultural changes in the way governments and organizations operate-leading to improved performance, increased accountability and transparency, learning and knowledge. In the specific context of Vision 2021 and the Sixth Plan, a results-based M&E will be critical to helping the Government track and monitor progress with implementation of the respective targets and take corrective actions when major gaps or divergences emerge.

The evolution of results based M&E worldwide highlights an important issue: countries are at different stages of development and differ in approaches. This suggests that it is important to learn from best practice elsewhere but to tailor activities within the context of a specific country. So the Sixth Plan strategy is to review the steps for building results based M&E on the basis of best practices elsewhere and to adapt those to the specific context and needs in Bangladesh.

In developing an effective results-based M&E for the Sixth Plan following steps will be followed: i) readiness assessment; ii) agreeing on outcomes to monitor; iii) selecting indicators to monitor; iv) establishing baseline data on indicators; v) monitoring for results; vi) emphasizing the role of evaluation; vii) reporting the findings; ix) using the findings; and x) sustaining the M&E system within organization.29

i) Readiness assessment: The readiness assessment describes the political readiness and commitment to institute a results-based M&E. The core issues here are 1) demand and incentives; 2) roles and responsibilities of the key entities involved; and 3) capacity building of the entities involved. The success of the whole M&E initiative critically hinges on political ownership and capacity building within the bureaucracy, the civil society, NGOs, researchers and think tanks, political party, parliament and the supreme audit body. Coordination amongst these actors through an effective dissemination of M&E findings will bring in transparency and accountability within the public management and also develop a feedback mechanism.

ii) Agreeing on outcomes to monitor: Setting outcomes that will demonstrate success is the next step in building a results-based M&E system. These can be based on identified national priorities, international conventions, political party’s election manifesto, refer to the MDGs and Plan documents. A relatively well-designed structure can be developed through consultation with stakeholders, CSOs, NGOs, independent academic/research institutions.

iii) Selecting key indicators to monitor success: For results-oriented M&E, indicators are imperative and outcomes are translated into outcome indicators. These indicators will inform how the inputs and resources have succeeded (or failed) in achieving the desired outcome. An indicator, which may be either quantitative or qualitative or both, should be clear, relevant, economic, adequate and monitorable.

iv) Baseline data on indicators: Data is integral to the M&E exercise. The standard best practice is to start with a pilot for the primary data. Most countries have national institutions dedicated to data collection that conduct regular surveys and census. In some cases secondary data may serve the purpose.

v) Monitoring for results: Results monitoring can simply be defined as aligning outputs with the results an organization, sector, or a state intends to achieve. A useful tool is the medium-term budget framework (MTBF) derived from the national plan. The MTBF is an expenditure planning system that assumes sound macroeconomic and fiscal management, sector priority settings, and program performance management.

vi) Emphasizing the role of evaluation: Any evaluation conducted should ensure technical soundness, comprehensiveness, impartiality, stakeholder’s involvement, and justification for money spent. The timing of evaluation is crucial; for example, evaluation is imperative should there be any divergence between planned and actual outcome, the presence of anomaly in the design and implementation in outcome, if resource allocation is compromised for political reasons, and finally if there is conflicting evidence on outcomes.

vii) Reporting the findings: The central purpose of any evaluation is to inform the appropriate audiences about the findings and conclusions resulting from the collection, analysis, and interpretation of evaluation information. In some countries, such as Australia and Chile, M&E reports are demanded by the legislature.

viii) Using the findings: Monitoring and evaluation findings are supposed to improve the performance of public service delivery. The usefulness of M&E findings can be seen in many areas; these can be used for justifying the budget request, providing data for in depth evaluation, identifying the performance problems, responding to public demand for accountability, and building public trust.

The performance evaluation implies that public sector managers will be under scrutiny and they will be expecting rewards for improved service and there will be penalty for poor performance. Since the private sector gets involved with the development process through public procurement, the M&E findings also keeps the contractors and grantees under supervision.

One major objective and usage of the M&E findings is to ensure transparency and accountability. A major function of the legislature is to hold the executive into account. The M&E findings are factual evidences which can be used by the legislature. Dissemination of these findings through media and other means implies that the information is in the public domain. This in turn, will generate greater scrutiny and feedback. By bringing all the stakeholders into cooperation this enhances public trust of the government.

ix) Sustaining the M&E system within the organization: The sustainability of the results-based M&E system depends on a number of factors. First, there is the need to ensure demand for an effective results-based M&E. The government in isolation cannot ensure the sustainability of demand. The other stakeholders have to reciprocate by imposing more pressure and feedback. Second, there is a need to ensure trustworthy and credible information. The official channels of collating information should be maintained and their dissemination needs to be looked at. The data should be valid, credible and time consistent. Lack of credibility in information flow will not only invalidate the M&E findings but also reduce credibility of the system. Third, is the need to ensure accountability of the government. By ensuring accountability of all the ministries/division, autonomous bodies, central and local government bodies, we can ensure both the demand and the incentives for a results-based M&E. Fourth and finally, continuous capacity building efforts are necessary.

The M&E tools are evolving and practices are taking new shapes. The staff involved in M&E needs continuous support in the form of training and capacity building. Without appropriately trained officials it will become increasingly difficult to run a results-based M&E system. Not least is the need to develop appropriate incentive mechanisms for the bureaucrats for compliance with the M&E system. Lack of incentives implies lack of morale and less productivity, which in turn will lead to poor M&E.

Sixth Plan Strategy for Results-Based M&E

The Government of Bangladesh is keen to develop a results-based M&E framework. With the return of democratic government and the establishment of a range of Parliamentary Committees, the need for results-based M&E has grown. As reviewed above, the establishment of a results-based M&E involves several steps. The political commitment and the ownership of the government is a major step forward. Several other actions have also been taken to help move towards a results-based M&E framework. These include the institution of the MTBF, the initiation of the Digital Bangladesh program, and the strengthening of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).

However, the lack of capacity and broad-based awareness of the importance of a results-based M&E remain major challenges. Data generation for the huge set of indicators and their useful analysis is a formidable task. There is also a need to develop training modules and manuals for the civil servants for effective understanding of the result-based M&E system.

The Sixth Plan strategy to institute a results-based M&E involves the following actions:

  • Assign overall responsibility for instituting a results-based M&E to the Planning Commission. The General Economics Division (GED) in collaboration with the IMED will take the lead responsibility. Technical assistance from a multi-donor Trust Fund is already available for this purpose.
  • Availability of reliable data and its timeliness is crucial for policy making and impact evaluation which calls for increasing efficiency of the statistical system. Therefore capacity of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) will be strengthened to enable it conduct surveys, special surveys and censuses to produce quality data. The publication of HIES, LFS, SMI, Agriculture census etc. should match with monitoring and evaluation circle of the Planning Commission.
  • The capacity of the GED and IMED will be strengthened with better staffing, technology, training and technical assistance. In particular, a strong GED is essential to enable it to guide the M&E working groups, coordinate their activities and carryout the analytical work.
  • Good practice results-based M&E from international experiences including from those in India, Chile, Malaysia, Korea and Thailand will be reviewed and adapted to the specific context of Bangladesh.
  • Good data is essential for an effective results-based M&E. The capacity of the BBS will be further strengthened to generate required data for M&E. This could entail special-purpose surveys and other outcome-oriented data base.
  • Strong results-based M&E will require collaboration with the line ministries, research institutions, and civil society. GED will be assigned this responsibility.
  • Proper review and dissemination of M&E results is essential to make this a useful tool for policy making. The findings of M&E will be reviewed through workshops and training programs. The dissemination effort will include sending the reports to the cabinet, the Parliamentary committees, the various ministries and also published as reports and posted on the website of the Planning Commission for general public review.

Joint Cooperation Strategy for Aid Effectiveness

Bangladesh is committed to make aid more effective to realize her socio-economic development goals/targets in the spirit of the Paris Declaration. In this context a Joint Cooperation Strategy (JCS) signed on 2nd June 2010 is a major step towards strengthening partnership between the Government and its development partners. It will intensify mutual collaboration to improve aid delivery and thereby enhance the prospects for sustained growth and poverty reduction. The JCS sets standards for the effective management and dialogue of development assistance through joint programming, greater use of government’s administrative and financial systems, joint appraisal and analytical work for co-financed programmes and joint review of progress in implementing programmes. The overall goal of JCS is to make aid in Bangladesh more effective by creating common platforms for national and sectoral dialogues as well as a country owned change process for improving delivery of aid. Specifically it aims at:

  • Reducing project fragmentation and high transaction costs for all partners by strengthening national lead and coordination;
  • Focusing more on donor alignment to the GoB priorities and systems;
  • Ensuring more accountability and predictability of aid flows;
  • Augmenting common agreement of expected development outcomes at national and sector levels for the coming years.
  • Agreeing on a common development results framework for expected development outcomes at national and sector levels for the coming years.

Developing a Results Framework to Monitor the Five Year Plan

The Government of Bangladesh is keen to develop a results framework to monitor the implementation of the Five Year Plan as a first step to introduce results based management approach across all levels. A Results Framework will assist the Government in monitoring its own progress towards the targets set in the Plan. It can go a long way in refocusing existing bureaucrat practices on achieving results, moving away from a process-centered mentality. Internationally, countries have also used the results framework as a tool to mobilize external resources around their core development priorities.

Two features of a Results Framework are critical to its strength as a performance measurement tool:

  • Big picture perspective: A Results Framework identifies a set of measurable indicators to monitor progress towards a limited set of development outcomes. It provides a snapshot of the main macro-level results that the Five Year Plan seeks to achieve. The strength of the tool lies in its capacity to identify a core set of development outcomes that if adequately monitored suffice to judge the level of progress in implementing the strategy. The indicators included in the results framework are only a minor set of the indicators monitored by the broader M&E system to be established for the Plan.
  • Frequent reviews with key stakeholders: because of the limited size of indicators that it includes, the Results Framework can be reviewed and adjusted annually. Annual reviews serve to assess yearly progress towards the main development outcomes identified in the Plan and to take corrective measures if needed. They also play an important role in providing information to citizens and key stakeholders. In line with the principles of results based management described above, frequent monitoring of results is the single most important step towards achieving better results.

The Sixth Plan strategy to develop a Results Framework involves the following actions:

  • Assign overall responsibility to develop the Results Framework for the Five Year Plan to GED and the Economic Relations Division (ERD). As agreed in the Joint Cooperation Strategy (JCS) signed in June 2010 between the Government of Bangladesh and development partners, the latter will assist the Government in developing the results framework.
  • Assign overall responsibility to monitor the Results framework to GED, in line with its general responsibilities to institute a results based M&E. GED will act as the clearinghouse for the data and will ensure that adequate roles are assigned to line ministries and other relevant agencies. An existing initiative to create a network of M&E officers across line ministries will form the basis of a monitoring network for the results framework.
  • Assign responsibility to ERD, in cooperation with GED, to organize an annual development forum to discuss progress on the results framework with key stakeholders, including development partners and civil society organizations.

A result based framework for monitoring the progress of the SFYP targets has been jointly developed by the Government and the Development Partners, which is shown in Annex Table 9.1.

Third Party Monitoring of the Sixth Five Year Plan

Third Party Monitoring is increasingly being recognized worldwide as integral to the M&E process because it offers new ways of assessing and learning from change that are more inclusive, and more responsive to the needs and aspirations of those most directly affected. In the context of Bangladesh, third party monitoring can help increase the demand for solid information about development results, unleashing external pressures and incentives to ensure sustainability of the M&E enhancements proposed in this Plan.

Third Party Monitoring by qualified civil society organizations complements the efforts of the Government of Bangladesh to monitor the Plan jointly with development partners through the Development Results Framework. It offers the opportunity to complement the analysis of performance indicators with in depth information gathered directly from citizens at the local level. The Government of Bangladesh believes that effective monitoring of the Five Year Plan by third parties will be instrumental in strengthening accountability and transparency; and effective in helping to take corrective actions to improve development results.

Annex Table 9.1:Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for the Sixth Five Year Plan
DRFOutcomesIndicatorsBaselineTarget 2011Target 2015Source#
Income and PovertyMacroeconomyPrudent macroeconomic environment conducive to growth and poverty reduction, boosted by private sector development and tradeTax Revenue as % of GDP9.0 % (2010)10%12.4%NBR and MoF1
Average annual CPI Inflation rate7.3% (2010)8%6%BBS2
Private Sector and TradeAnnual amount of remittances (in USD)10.9 billion(2010)11.54 billion17.83 billionBangladesh Bank3
Private investment as % of GDP19.4% (2010)19.5%25%BBS, National Accounts4
Total export as % of GDP16.2% (2010)20.3%23.9%Export Statistics, EPB5
PovertyReduction in poverty, across all groups and regions, while offering effective social protection to marginalized groups, including access to foodGovernment Spending on Social Protection (excluding pensions) as % of GDP1.7% (2010 Est.)2.0%3.0%BBS and MoF6
Poverty Headcount Ratio (CBN Basis)i31.5%

29.7%22.5%Sim SIP (annual projections)ii7
Agriculture, Food Security and Rural DevelopmentRate of growth of agricultural GDP (constant)5.20% (2010)5%4.3%BBS, National Accounts8
Average growth of wages in Kg of rice iii6.4%

≥GDP growth + 0.5≥GDP growth + 0.5BBS, National Accounts9
Prevalence of underweight in children under five years of age41% (2007)TBDiv33%BDHS/NIPORTv10
Human Resource DevelopmentEducationQuality education for all to reduce poverty and increase economic growthGrade V completion rate, by genderTotal: 60.2%


Girls: 57%

Boys: 53%

(gender parity)

(gender parity)
Net enrolment rate in secondary education, by genderTotal: 44.8%


Girls: 50.8

Boys: 39.5

(gender Parity)

(gender parity)
HealthSustainable improvements in health, including family planning, particularly of vulnerable groups% of births attended by skilled health personnel26% (2010)31%50%MMHS (BMMS)13
% of people using modern contraceptives in HPNSDP low performing areas, by genderWomen: Sylhet: 35.7%/ Chitt: 46.8% Male: Sylhet: 4.7%/ Chitt: 3.1%

Women: Sylhet: 38%/

Chitt: 48%

Male: n/a

Chitt: n/a

Women Sylhet and Chitt. 65%

Men Sylhet and Chitt.n/a
Water & SanitationIncreased availability of safe water and good sanitation facilities, particularly of the poor% of population using improved drinking water sources (urban/rural)Urban 93.3%/

Rural 83.8%

Urban 95%/

Rural 85%
Urban 100%

Rural 96.5%
% of population using improved sanitary facilities (urban/rural)Urban 53.5%/

Rural 54.3%

Urban 60%

Rural 65%
Urban 100%

Rural 90%
Energy and InfrastructureTransportImproved infrastructure for higher economic growth% of road network in “Good to Fair” condition66%

80%95%Roads Condition Survey17
Kms of railway in usable condition2835.04 km

2857 km4237.04 kmBR18
EnergyPer capita consumption of electricity170 KWh

196 KWh390 KWhPower Cell19
Access to electricity47%

48.5%65%Power Cell20
Gender EqualityWomen and men enjoy equal opportunities% of women employed in the formal sector24%

29%49%BBS (LFS)21
Environmental SustainabilityEnvironment & Climate ChangeThe environment is preserved and prevented from degradation and a disaster management strategy existsHactre of forest coverage13.14%

13.84%15%Forest Department22
Water ManagementKm of waterways navigable year round3800 km

3810 km3910 kmBIWT23
Disaster ManagementNumber of usable cyclone shelters2,852 shelters

3352 shelters5,352 sheltersMoFDM24
No. of rural communities with disaster resilient habitats and community assets90

100300MoFDM Survey25
ICTIncreased access to telephone and broadband services% of people with phone46%

55%70%ITU Annual Report26
% of people with broadband connection2%

5%30%ITU Annual Report27
UrbanReduced urban poverty and improved living conditions through better city governance and service improvements% of City Corporations’ expenditure raised autonomously38.5%

41.0%51.0%CC Budgets28
% of urban population with regular employment55.7%

77%100%LFS & Wage Survey29
GovernanceDemocratic GovernanceGood governance reforms institutionalized at all levels and institutional capacity of public institutions enhancedNumber of ministry oversight hearings held by the Parliament0

Service Delivery% difference between actual primary expenditure and budgeted primary expenditure in real terms9.6%

% of contracts awarded within the initial bid validity period for key agencies (RHD, LGED, BWDB, REB)30%

40%60%Agency’s M & E report32
% of Local Government Institutions’ share of public expenditures0%

0.5%2%LG Annual Audits33
Justice and Human RightsNumber of Case backlogs in the formal justice system (lower and upper judiciary)1.8 million

TBDTBDSupreme Court MoLJPA34
Number of UPR agreed Human Right principles institutionalized in national policy frameworks0


Poverty refers to upper poverty line.

Actual data is available through HIES every 5 years.

A rice wage growth greater than the growth of GDP would entail an increased access to food by wage earners which include the poorest both in urban and rural areas. The average GDP growth was 0.5 percentage points higher than the rice wage growth over the last 3 years. This difference has been taken as the target to ensure increased purchasing power of wage earners over the next five years.

A target for 2011 is not available. Given the proposal to utilize a different source compared to the baseline year – i.e. more accurate and produced on a yearly basis (see note 5 below), the reference year for the baseline will most likely be 2011. Despite the difficulty in determining these values at the moment of formulation of the result-framework, the indicator has a large consensus as very appropriate to measure nutritional levels and is among those chosen by SFYP

These data are only available every three years through the BDHS. However, BBS/HKI will shortly produce indicators that are nationally representative on an at least bi-annual basis. As soon as this is available, this will become the new source of information.

Poverty refers to upper poverty line.

Actual data is available through HIES every 5 years.

A rice wage growth greater than the growth of GDP would entail an increased access to food by wage earners which include the poorest both in urban and rural areas. The average GDP growth was 0.5 percentage points higher than the rice wage growth over the last 3 years. This difference has been taken as the target to ensure increased purchasing power of wage earners over the next five years.

A target for 2011 is not available. Given the proposal to utilize a different source compared to the baseline year – i.e. more accurate and produced on a yearly basis (see note 5 below), the reference year for the baseline will most likely be 2011. Despite the difficulty in determining these values at the moment of formulation of the result-framework, the indicator has a large consensus as very appropriate to measure nutritional levels and is among those chosen by SFYP

These data are only available every three years through the BDHS. However, BBS/HKI will shortly produce indicators that are nationally representative on an at least bi-annual basis. As soon as this is available, this will become the new source of information.

25Kaufmann, D., Kraay, A. and Mastruzzi, M (2005). The Worldwide Governance Indicators: Methodology and Analytical Issues, Policy Research Working Paper 5430, The World Bank: Washington DC.
26However, these are not the only types of governance indicators available. There are other governance data available including compendium by OECD, Arndt ad Oman (2006). Uses and Abuses of Governance Indicators; the EC and UNDP (2004). Governance Indicators: A User Guide; and the World Bank (2006) Global Monitoring Project. The type of governance data available can be categorized as, features of political system, features of legal and regulatory systems, investment climate surveys, governance diagnostic surveys. For a summary see Kraay, A. (2008). “Governance Indicators: where are we, where we should be going?” MPRA Paper 8212, University Library of Munich: Germany
27The ICT issues are discussed in full detail in Chapter 6 of Part 2 of the Sixth Plan document.
28The IMED was established in 1975 as the Project Implementation Bureau (PIB) and was placed under the President’s Secretariat. Later in 1977, it was placed under the Planning Commission as a separate Division and was renamed as IMED in 1982.
29See Kusek, J.Z., and, Rist, R.C., (2004), ‘A Handbook for Development Practitioners: Ten Steps to a Result based Monitoring and Evaluation System’, The World Bank, Washington D.C.

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