October 15, 2015
Honorable Chief Guest, Dr. Gowher Rizvi, International Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister,
Honorable Chairperson, Mr. Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, Cabinet Secretary,
His Excellency Mr. Masato Watanabe, Ambassador of Japan,
Mr. Md Nazrul Islam, Secretary, Cabinet Division,
Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen,
Assalam alaikum and good morinig.
It is indeed a great pleasure for me to attend the Seminar on Implementation of National Integrity Strategy (NIS) jointly organized by the Cabinet Division and JICA.
JICA started to collaborate with the Cabinet Division right after the cabinet approval of NIS in October 2012, since we recognized NIS as a comprehensive good governance strategy to prevent corruption and promote integrity in the Government of Bangladesh as well as all strata of the society. After conducting a mission on good governance strategy in 2013, JICA decided to extend a technical cooperation of NIS Support Project to the Cabinet Division, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and other concerned ministries to get NIS to take firm hold in the government. This year, Mr. Nazrul Islam, Honorable Secretary of the Cabinet Division, led a mission to Japan to observe how code of conduct and associated rules are applied to Japanese public servants to help maintain integrity and prevent corruption.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Bangladesh has achieved both stable economic growth and social development over the last decade. It has risen from a low-income country to a lower-middle-income country. In terms of social development, Bangladesh has shown a remarkable progress in MDGs especially in poverty reduction, primary education and health.
Nevertheless, we should not forget that governance is still a daunting deterrent to faster growth and greater advancement of this country. Governance matters to hold the government accountable to the electorate and achieve an effective and efficient use of resources in meeting people's needs.
Besides, good governance is a prerequisite to promote private investment. Bangladesh needs to encourage private investment including foreign direct investment to increase from the current level of 22% of GDP to that of 30% in order to achieve a higher growth trajectory of eight-percent plus. 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.
Accordingly, Bangladesh has to implement NIS steadfastly to move up to the next stage of socio-economic development and achieve the next targets of Sustainable Development Goals.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I really appreciate the strong leadership of Honorable Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan in the process of adopting NIS firmly directing that it should be the public servants who take the initiative and set a good example for others by strictly maintaining integrity in providing services to the citizen and in procurement of goods and services.
I would also like to appreciate the Project Director and the whole project team for their efforts to implement the technical cooperation project steadily for the first year. The project has successfully completed the groundwork such as awareness building of corruption prevention among the Integrity Focal Points, formulation of NIS work plans by fifty-three institutions, drafting an NIS Road map and formulation of NIS Monitoring Guidelines. The Cabinet Division has collected good practices in ministries and state institutions to identify factors in the promotion of integrity. I firmly believe that, by piling up these success stories, it is possible to spread faithful, pro-citizen public services across the country and finally establish laudable governance in Bangladesh.
Finally, I hope the Cabinet Division and ACC will continue to try every possible means to achieve transformative results in the latter part of the technical cooperation project, involving NGOs, media and civil societies to sincerely respond to the citizen's voice and ensure accountability of the state.
Apnader Shabaike Dhannabad. Thank you very much.