December 18, 2014
Honorable State Minister of Public Administration, Ms. Begum Ishrat Jahan,
Honorable Mayor of Sanjo City of Japan, Mr. Isato Kunisada,
Dr. Kamal Abdur Naser Chowdhury, Senior Secretary, Ministry of Public Administration,
Mr. A.K.M. Abdul Awal Mazumder, Rector of Bangladesh Public Administration Training Center (BPATC),
Ladies and gentlemen.
Assalam alaikum and good evening.
It is indeed a great pleasure for me to attend the second International KAIZEN Convention on Improving Public Services through Total Quality Management jointly organized by BPATC and JICA.
Bangladesh's achievement in the area of economic growth, exports of readymade garments, remittances, food self-sufficiency and Millennium Development Goals is remarkable. The average GDP growth of 6% has reduced the poverty population under the country's poverty line from 50% in 2000 to 30%. Bangladesh has also made great strides in primary school enrollment, educational gender equality and infant mortality.
There are still some bottlenecks which stand in the way toward faster advancement. Inadequate infrastructure is one. Not-good-enough governance is another. To be sure, governance matters to hold the government accountable to the electorate and achieve an effective and efficient use of resources in meeting local needs. Then, why does governance matter to economic growth?
It does because good governance is a sine qua non to promote private investment. Bangladesh needs to encourage private investment including foreign direct investment to increase from the current level of less than 20% of GDP to that of 30% in order to achieve more than six-percent growth trajectory which will enable her to become a middle-income country by 2021. To attract investors who are by nature of long-term perspective, the host government has to demonstrate how well it governs, proving that it is predictable, transparent and accountable. Trust in government nurtured by good governance is really an intangible social asset necessary for vibrant economic activities.
JICA is a time-tested development partner to Bangladesh having been operating since 1973, and governance is one of its main areas of cooperation. One example is so called "Link Model." The Link Model is a system developed by JICA's technical cooperation project for Participatory Rural Development to build better governance of unions by encouraging people's participation and increasing accountability of public officials to local people. Union Development Coordination Committee, an important component of the Link Model, was adopted as a part of the formal governance system in 2011. We are now embarking on a concessional loan assistance to extend the Link Model throughout Bangladesh.
Another example is our support to the execution of the National Integrity Strategy (NIS) which was approved by the Cabinet in November 2012. It is a declaration by the Government of Bangladesh to seek better governance for further socio-economic development of the nation. JICA has started to provide its technical cooperation to the Cabinet Division, the Anti-Corruption Commission and other concerned ministries and departments to effectively implement NIS.
Ladies and gentlemen,
JICA has been collaborating with BPATC since 2007 to improve management capacity in the public sector for better public services through two technical cooperation projects, namely "Enhancing Capacity of Public Service Training in Bangladesh" up to 2011 and "Improving Public Service through Total Quality Management" from 2012.
Under the current project, on-site TQM training for upazila level officers has been implemented in 20+ different departments in 64 Sadar Upazilas. The Project offers skills to identify problems and find solutions in a methodical way, putting first priority to people's satisfaction from beginning to end. KAIZEN, or continuous improvement activities, is able to bring about tremendous development in the way of organizing works and service deliveries by the public sector as well as the private sector. Like those impressive cases of improvement you have just seen in today's presentations, as many as 1,387 cases of improvement have been undertaken so far in 67 upazilas of 7 districts (zilas). Indeed they are small improvements, but they have required neither big money nor big reforms. They just needed dedicated public-servant mind. The officers concerned are all respectable unsung heroes.
I firmly believe that, by piling up these small blocks of success, it is possible to spread faithful, pro-citizen public services across the country and finally establish laudable governance in Bangladesh.
In conclusion, I would like to ask honorable Secretaries, Director Generals and other senior officials to persistently inspire to incessant improvement of public services and to enthusiastically acknowledge each and every achievement, so that spontaneous KAIZEN activities will take firm hold as a matter of course in the public sector of Bangladesh.
Apnader Shabaike Dhannabad. Thank you very much.