Politics keeps parliamentary bodies ineffective: TIB

Parliamentary standing committees are unable to work effectively as watchdogs due to political influence and conflict of interest among committee members, a new study of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) revealed.

The study says that the members of parliamentary committees have business interests in their respective parliamentary bodies and often they use the committees as tool to gain their own interest, UNB news agency reported.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe study, titled ‘Effectiveness of Parliamentary Standing Committees of Bangladesh: Problems and Way Forward’, was released at a press conference held at TIB office in the city on Sunday.

TIB programme manager Juliet Rosette and deputy programme manger Fafema Afroz presented the study findings. The study was carried out on the ninth parliament (Jan 2009 to Dec 2013) and 10th parliament (Jan 2014 to Apr 2015).

It said the influence of ruling party and its chief have been found in formation of parliamentary watchdogs and selecting its chairmen and members, and taking decisions in meetings.

As it is not mandatory to implement the recommendations the committees place, most of the suggestions remain unimplemented, the study says, adding the ministries concerned do not give importance to the suggestions of the parliamentary bodies.

The TIB study also found lack of transparency and accountability in the activities of the standing committees while the bodies do not disseminate information regarding its activities regularly.

A total of 11 parliamentary committees were selected as ‘case studies’ during the research to know how corruption-related decisions were implemented. It was found that the authorities concerned implemented only 53 percent decisions.

Although parliamentary probes found corruption in many allegations, there were examples of inaction despite finding the accused guilty.

Speaking at the press conference, TIB executive director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said the recommendations of the parliamentary bodies are not being implemented for lack of political will.

As the leader of the parliament has got absolute power, the committees cannot work effectively, he said, quoting parliamentary committee members as saying.

TIB put forward an 11-point recommendation to make the parliamentary bodies functional. The recommendations include amending the rules of procedures of the parliament, finalising a calendar to hold meetings of the committees on specific dates and announcing a law as per Article 76 (3) of the Constitution to empower the committees.

TIB trustee board member Hafiz Uddin Khan and director (policy research) Mohammad Rafiqul Hasan were present at the press conference.

-Prothom Alo