Bangladesh Parliament’s Budget Analysis and Monitoring Unit Launches Budget Help Desk with support from the PRODIP Project
MPs in Bangladesh have limited access to information on the fiscal operations of the government to facilitate their oversight and monitoring of the national budget. Every year, the national budget is placed before the Parliament in the first week of June, but MPs have little information on the budget proposal and limited time for deliberations.
Given this backdrop, the Budget Analysis and Monitoring Unit (BAMU) of the Bangladesh Parliament, with support from the SUNY/CID legislative team developed a Budget Information Help Desk to serve as an information resource for MPs and staff during the 2013 budget session. At the Help Desk, MPs were able to access relevant information, documents, and reports as well as on-demand analysis of issues by BAMU members. The Honorable Speaker of Bangladesh Parliament Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury inaugurated the Help Desk on June 5, 2013. Twenty-seven MPs including the Deputy Speaker of the House and four Chairmen of Standing Committees were present at the inaugural event which took place inside the parliament building.
The Help Desk produced informative publications including a book titled Ebarer Budget (2013-14) Kemon Holo? (What about this year’s budget?) as well as five briefing notes on the implementation status of the Annual Development Plan within different ministries. The Library of Parliament extended extraordinary support, supplying the Help Desk with daily newspaper clippings on the national budget as well as relevant archival documents located in the library.
The Help Desk remained in operation for eighteen days until the budget was passed on June 30th. One hundred and fifty-five questions were asked and answered and more than 35% percent of all MPs received Help Desk support from BAMU staff including the Ministers for Information, Food, Civil Aviation and Tourism, and the Chairmen of the Finance Committee, Public Undertakings Committee, Public Accounts Committee, Committee on Ministry of Agriculture, Committee on Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Committee on Ministry of Planning, and the Committee on Government Assurance.
This service promotes greater awareness of budget issues among MPs as well as an increased use of relevant data and information to prepare their budget speeches bringing about a qualitative change in budget discussions.
Posted December 11, 2013