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Chief Representative's Speech

January 25, 2016

The National KAIZEN Convention
(25/Jan/2016 @Pan-Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, Dhaka)

Honorable Chief Guest, Ms. Begum Ismat Ara Sadique M.P., Minister of State, Ministry of Public Administration,
Honorable Chairperson Mr. A.K.M. Abdul Awal Mazumder, Rector of Bangladesh Public Administration Training Center (BPATC),
Mr. Takeshi Matsunaga, Minister, Embassy of Japan
Respected Secretaries and Director Generals,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and gentlemen.

Assalam alaikum and good evening.

It is indeed a great pleasure for me to attend the third National KAIZEN Convention on Improving Public Services through Total Quality Management, jointly organized by BPATC and JICA.

Bangladesh has continued both stable economic growth and social development more than a decade. It advanced in status from a low-income country to a lower-middle-income country last year. In terms of social development, Bangladesh showed 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. In this sense, as one of the most tangible and effective instruments, improved public service delivery through KAIZEN, or continuous improvement, can play catalytic role to foster trust among citizens.

Ladies and gentlemen,

JICA started its collaboration with BPATC back in 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.

The current project aims at establishing a framework, under which at least one small continuous improvement should be achieved every year in each of approximately 12,000 offices of more than twenty-five line departments in sixty-four districts. Putting first priority to people's satisfaction from beginning to end, a series of Upazila TQM trainings as well as District orientations have been held in twenty-one districts under the project. As a result, more than 4,000 small improvements have been undertaken with the framework of "One Year One Project."

A good number of small improvements is widely disseminated through different media as well as social networking services. It is remarkable that more than 1.3 lakh people have visited the Project website and Facebook fan page, acknowledging and expressing appreciation to the KAIZEN practitioners. Each of these practices is indeed a small improvement, but they required neither big investment nor big reforms. They just needed dedicated public servants. The officials concerned are all respectable unsung heroes.

As a part of the Project, a mission team headed by Honorable Minister of State, Ms. Begum Ismat Ara Sadique M.P. visited Japan in August 2015. Sharing KAIZEN experiences being undertaken by the public sector in Bangladesh, the mission team exchanged views with counterparts in Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Kyoto Prefecture and Saitama City. I'm very much pleased and proud of mentioning that experiences shared by three Upazila Officers at "Kaizen Network Meeting" held in Kyoto then were highly appreciated by those KAIZEN practitioners in Japan.

Building on the progress to date, further measures are being taken in order for the KAIZEN framework to be more systematically internalized in the government system. To this end, in collaboration with concerned ministries and line departments, the "TQM Cells" have been established within headquarters of eithteen line departments to coordinate and support implementing department-wise "One Year One Project." "TQM Cells" should be established in all twenty-five line departments to continue small improvements in a sustainable way. I am certain that it will be realized in due course by the leadership of respective secretary and director general. I firmly believe that, by putting all these efforts together, 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.

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