Local government bodies mostly non-functional:Bangladesh Enterprise Institute unveils study on accounting and audit systems, The Daily Star, February 27, 2013

The local government bodies should have to activate their internal committees immediately to ensure transparency and accountability in financial activities at the grassroots level, a study said yesterday.

Bangladesh has three tiers of local governments — Union Parishad, Upazila Parisad and Pourashava — in a bid to decentralise the administrative work.

The local government bodies have a number of structural weaknesses such as ineffective functioning of ward and standing committees, poor monitoring mechanism and political bias in selecting committee members, the study said.

Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) conducted the study on local government audit systems, covering 14 union parishads, seven upazila parishads and seven pourashavas.

“The law requires 17 standing committees for upazila parishads,” said M Humayun Kabir, vice-president of BEI when sharing the findings of the study at the BIISS auditorium in the city yesterday.

Standing committees are practically non-functional, with about 92 percent of the respondents claiming that meetings of the committees do not hold at all, he said.

“The committees are formed largely on political considerations and personal rapport with the chair, and hence not effective,” said Kabir.

Though audits by OCAG take place over the local government bodies routinely, the process remains largely perfunctory and in most cases do not adhere to the objective of such audits, he said.

An open-end mutual fund is a type of investment fund that gathers capital from a number of investors to create a pool of money that is then re-invested into stocks, bonds and other assets.

The fund does not have a fixed amount of share capital and can issue or redeem units according to shifts in demand, and the investors effectively are shareholders in the fund in proportion to their investment.

The BSEC also decided to provide a full-fledged merchant banking licence to Sandhani Life Finance, with the letter of intent due soon.

A merchant bank is a bank with a wide range of specialised services for companies and large investors, including underwriting and advising on securities issues and other forms of capital raising, mergers and acquisitions, trading on capital markets, research and private equity investments etc.

Presently, there are 53 merchant banks in Bangladesh, of which 44 are full-fledged.

Source: http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=270658

27 February, 2013