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Wednesday, March 12, 2008
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3 ordinances by this month to empower local govt

The government is going to promulgate ordinances on local government commission, city corporations and pourashavas by the end of this month aiming to grant more power to the local government bodies.

An inter-ministerial meeting presided by Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) Adviser Anwarul Iqbal yesterday finalised the drafts of Local Government Commission Ordinance 2008, City Corporation Ordinance 2008 and Pourashava Ordinance 2008.

"We have finalised the drafts of the ordinances and will send those to the advisory council after March 21 when the chief adviser returns," Anwarul Iqbal said.

He was addressing a press briefing after the meeting at the conference room of Local Government Division.

In the meantime, the drafts would be sent to the law ministry, so that the ministry's task could be done fast when the advisory council forwards the drafts to it for vetting, the LGRD adviser said.

Once the ordinances are promulgated, the Election Commission (EC) can declare schedules of the local government elections, he added.

Asked if the government is hurrying for the local government elections, the adviser said that this is not a matter of hurry as there are court orders for holding these elections within six months after their terms end. The time has expired in some cases, Anwarul Iqbal noted.

The adviser reiterated that he did not say that elections in 100 upazila parishads would be held in May and observed that there are upazila parishads, but no elected representatives at present.

Anwarul Iqbal said that voter listing of 80 upazilas has been completed and the EC may hold elections in those upazila parishads after city corporation elections.

The adviser observed that the local government institutions have so far been centrally controlled, but once the ordinances are promulgated, such controls from the ministries will be removed to a great extent.

The role of members of parliament as advisers to the upazila parishads has been abolished in the finalised amendment to the Upazila Parishad Act, he said, adding that the sources of income of the local government bodies were also increased.

"Administrative skills" that were written as qualifications of the local government commission members in the act have been replaced by "experienced in local government", meaning that it was not mandatory to have administrative skills, but they have to have experience in local government affairs, the adviser said.

Officials from the ministries of LGRD, home, law were present at the meeting.

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