Around 440 officials from field administration and Cabinet Division are reportedly going on foreign trips to enhance their knowledge and skills spending 38 crore 15 lakh taka. A particular project has been taken up for this purpose which is first of its kind in Bangladesh, relevant sources have informed.
Sources from Cabinet Division have said that the concerned officials are expected to visit abroad from January 2018 till June 2021 under a project titled, "Capacity Building of the Cabinet Division and Field Administration". These visits would include upgrading the officials' knowledge on administrative affairs, trainings and study tours.
Fifty officials from Cabinet Division and another 150 officials from field administration are scheduled to travel overseas at the first phase of these tours. These tours include short courses of two weeks, administrative sources have stated. The rest of the officials will visit foreign countries for trainings at the second round of these trips.
However, Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Department (IMED) under Planning Commission has reportedly said that in the current era of information and digital technologies overseas tours by the advance team is not so much obligatory.
The project of foreign trips is being supervised by Munna Rani Biswas, Assistant Director, Cabinet Division, different sources have reported. Such trainings from foreign countries would be helpful for improving the professionalism and dexterity of government officials, Munna Rani Biswas has remarked.
Reportedly each additional secretary would receive 11 lakh 50 thousand taka for 15 days foreign trainings whereas this amount is 7 lakh 50 thousand taka for joint secretaries. On the other hand, for 30 days overseas trainings deputy secretaries are supposed to receive 6 lakh 50 thousand taka each. These amounts are projected sums which would be finalized later on, Cabinet Division has informed.
It has been noticed for a long time that many higher officials of different ministries often go on foreign trips at the expenses of the government. There are various observations about such trips which are not always necessary tours according to renowned economists. Eminent civic society members and financial experts have expressed opinions for reducing the government's expenditures for unnecessary foreign tours by officials holding higher posts.
Dr Iftekharuzzaman, Executive Director of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) said to The Asian Age, "Government officials sometimes visit abroad for professional purposes. However, it needs to be scrutinized by the concerned authorities to what extent foreign trips by higher officials are logical. On the other hand, the achievements made through foreign tours should be compared to the money spent by the government for such trips."
Dr Badiul Alam Majumder, Secretary of Shushasoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan) told The Asian Age, "Foreign trips by government officials are very expensive and these things consume a lot of time as well. Therefore, dignitaries holding higher designations should not travel abroad for insignificant reasons at the cost of the country's money."
Reputed economist Dr Abul Barakat said to The Asian Age, "Concerned departments should assess the necessity and effectiveness of foreign tours by higher government officials. Unnecessary foreign trips should be resisted by the government to stop wastage of money and time."
On the other hand, Dr Khondaker Ibrahim Khaled, former deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank told The Asian Age, "Many officials travel abroad without essential purposes which takes a great deal of money. However, sometimes foreign organizers bear the expenses of such tours which saves our country's money while it incurs huge costs when these trips are financed by the Bangladesh government."
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