The proposed TA aims to improve public administrations and public service deliveries using e-Solutions leading to inclusive development. The outcome of the
proposed TA is envisaged the successful introduction of e-Services for selected governments and target districts.
The proposed project is consistent with ADB's country partnership strategy. It supports the recommendations in ADB's 2009 country assistance program evaluation for Bangladesh, which found that lack of good governance in many areas is one of the country's binding constraints on growth, and recommended support for further governance reforms. Hence, the ADB's country operations business plan for 2010 2012 for Bangladesh focuses on providing assistance in this area. Recognizing the need for the application of ICT tools for improved governance, the proposed TA has identified key areas where the application of ICT tools has the potential to enhance efficiency, transparency, and accountability in public service delivery.
The proposed project is basically in line with the USD25mil ADB loan project which has begun effective in Oct. 2011 for three years with the aim of improved transparency and accountability in tax and land record administrations at both the central and local levels in Bangladesh. Furthermore, the proposed project has following features: It will look for broader opportunities in government functions that would significantly affect governance reforms in Bangladesh. It will support the Governance Management Project from the e-Governance perspective to maximize investment in ICT in line with the Government's Digital Bangladesh strategy. More specifically, the proposed project will support the Government plan to introduce e-Governance at all executive levels of the Government linking all local government institutions by 2015.
The propose project is unique from the traditional ADB projects in that it tries to fill the gap between the Government's new initiative to emphasize ICT for multi-sectors and what ADB used to support under the ADB's public sector management. E-Governance has both features of ICT as well as public sector management. Since ICT applications have lots of common functions that can be applied to any e-Governance project including ICT infrastructure, it would be much more effective and efficient if those common functions are designed, delivered and managed in integrated and consolidated fashion, which is normally not happened in ADB's traditional operation where ICT has not been systematically incorporated to date.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Bangladesh is a developing nation with growth rates of 5-6% per year since 1996 despite political instability, poor infrastructure, corruption, insufficient power supplies, and slow implementation of economic reforms. While Government is achieving reasonable economic growth, still about 40% of the population in the country is underemployed; many participants in the labor force work only a few hours a week, at low wages with almost 30% of the population below the poverty line. Serious infrastructure constraints and shortages of quality human resources are major impediments to further growth.
While Government is achieving reasonable economic growth, serious constraints on infrastructure, corruption, and shortages of quality human resources are major constraints to further growth. Strengthening good governance can help the country improve the efficiency in allocation of limited resources. While macro policy-based reforms are necessary conditions for good governance, the conditions need to commensurate with the changes in the delivery mechanism, supported by appropriate technologies tailored to the country context. ICT applications have the potential to trigger and shape significant changes in the delivery of public services and in the way governments function. The Government's Digital Bangladesh strategy also acknowledges this. In this regard, as in many other developing countries, the Government has promoted e-Governance applications in recent years to foster growth and development and to enhance the quality of service delivery.
Despite the government's enthusiasm in attaining modernized government through e-government initiatives, the Government of Bangladesh lacks resources and expertise to make much head way. Building on our member countries' experiences in e-government, ADB can help the Government achieve its objectives more effectively and in more innovative ways.
Traditionally, ADB's support to ICT operations has been developed as isolated components under specific sector operations, and has not been integrated systematically into a national ICT framework. The proposed project is unique as compared to traditional ADB ICT projects in that it will be designed to fill the gaps in the Government's plan for e-Governance, rather than focusing on stand-alone e-governance applications for ADB sector projects. E-Governance basically refers to a set of ICT applications which has several common functions across the whole government; so it would be much more effective and efficient if those common functions are designed, implemented and managed in integrated and consolidated fashion.