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Friday, November 18, 2005

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HEADLINE
 
Hail home-grown plan for reducing poverty
Donors for steps against growing incidence of terrorism, violence
Shakhawat Hossain
11/18/2005
 

          International donors expressed deep concern Thursday over the growing incidence of terrorism and violence, and inactivity of the anti-corruption body.
They aired these views at the concluding day of the three-day Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) Implementation Forum 2005 in Dhaka.
They urged the Bangladesh government to take appropriate measures against terrorism and violence to ensure a friendly investment atmosphere, which is vital for making the poverty reduction strategy a success.
"If things continue to run this way, Bangladesh will be known as a place of terrorism," said World Bank vice president Praful Patel Thursday, pointing a finger at the recent killing of two judges and countrywide simultaneous bomb blasts last August.
This is a bad signal for the investors, he added.
Such reactions came from the donor agencies and countries on the third and concluding day of the first ever Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) Implementation Forum.
During the first two days, they stressed the need for faster reform in the financial sector, including banking and revenue board for the successful execution of the poverty reduction strategies.
They also gave importance to proper monitoring by a team comprising of representatives from donors and local government officials to evaluate the progress of the poverty reduction projects twice in a year.
Representatives of donor agencies and countries also wanted the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to swing into action and expressed dissatisfaction over the delay in reform in the judiciary.
They urged the government for creating proper platform for the newly formed anti-graft body so that it deals with big corruption cases and win confidence of the people.
"People are taking the ACC very lightly," said Patel.
Finance and Planning Minister M Saifur Rahman, who chaired the first ever PRS Implementation Forum, said: "The government has formed the ACC. But we can not interfere into the activities of the independent body," he said.
On terrorism and violence, Saifur Rahman said terrorism has spread worldwide on a very fast rate.
"Even bomb might explode here where I'm standing," he said.
He, however, stressed the need for collective efforts from all quarters including the donor agencies, civil society and the NGOs to combat the new evil phenomenon that has plagued many countries.
Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Moudud Ahmed attending the meeting on the day faced a volley of questions from the development partners on the separation of the judiciary from the executive.
The government has been granted with time for at least dozen occasions in the past on the separation of the judiciary, which is considered as the main agenda in the country's law sector reform.
Moudud, however, said his government is very active and sincere about the issue.
"The separation of the judiciary will take place under the present four-party led coalition government," he said.
Meanwhile, the Economic Relation Division in a statement said development partners welcomed and congratulated the home-grown plan for reducing poverty.
"The development partners were highly impressed by the document and had assured their all-out cooperation for implementation of the PRS," the statement read.

 

ATTEMP TO MAKE AMENDS: Finance Minister M Saifur Rahman trying in vain to persuade the dissenting reporters, who left the venue of a press briefing on PRSP in the city Thursday protesting misbehaviour of a government official, to return. FE Photo
 
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