What people expect from the government

What people expect from the government

Md. Joynal Abdin

The Financial Express on December 02, 2009

THE people expect the new government, which came to power with a landslide election victory, to show respect to public sentiment.

The people, who gave it the landslide victory naturally have high expectations from this government. In last ten months, this government has introduced daylight saving time (DST) to save electricity. DST helped, during long summer days, optimum use of day light. It also compelled people to develop the good habit of early to bed and early to rise for using daylight as much as possible. But, what is possible in summer, when the day is long, would be impossible in the winter, when the day is much shorter. And there is growing dissatisfaction among the people, forced by DST to get up from the bed before the sun-rise. All public pleadings to go back to Bangladesh Standard Time (BST) is falling on deaf ears of the government. Why the government is sticking to DST when it cannot serve the purpose in winter.

Newspapers reported that people are being harassed or imprisoned for criticising the Prime Minister or for not hanging her photo in their offices. This is contrary to freedom of expression and the right to opinion, which are essential principles of democracy.

But the government deserves congratulation for completing the trial of Bangabandhu murder case, for initiating some moves for promoting public-private partnership (PPP) and its decision to recruit skilled professionals from the private sector to run PPP projects.

Moreover, its industrial and educational policies are expected to provide good results. The second poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP) is under its active consideration. It is working hard to woo foreign investment in power sector. A deep-sea port, providing transit to Nepal, and Dhaka city’s traffic jam mitigation are among its priorities. It has taken the initiative to sign bilateral free-trade agreements with major trading partners to get duty-free market access for Bangladeshi products and for obtaining technology. The US, the single largest export destination of the country’s exports, wants Bangladesh to sign TIFA.

But the government needs to put on place trade facilitation measures, the business community wants. Long overdue one-stop business solution centres in major cities would facilitate investment. It would facilitate easier obtaining of trade license, tax identification number (TIN), payment of value added tax (VAT), and investment permission. The centre would also bring other related services under one roof to free the entrepreneurs from hassles. The government could set up a intelligence wing for boosting exports.

The government should take the initiative to tackle Dhaka city’s traffic congestion. It is a major challenge for the ruling Awami League (AL) to control its front organisations engaged in negative activities. The people expect the government to be transparent. They also expect it to eliminate corruption and provide them better service.

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Md. Joynal Abdin

Development Researcher, Columnist and Author

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