Bangladesh minister proposes ‘Korean method’ to execute govt project

A senior Bangladeshi minister has floated a set of proposals that he believes, if implemented, will speed up the implementation of government projects in Bangladesh.

Published : 12 May 2022, 05:39 PM
Updated : 12 May 2022, 05:39 PM

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has also sought assistance from South Korea, which is considered top-ranked globally, in this regard.

"Whenever we start a project in Bangladesh, we never see the end of it. I remember a project which took 10 years to be complete, though it was supposed to finish in two years.

There are delays in all our projects, costing us additional money" Momen said at a seminar on "50 Years of Korea-Bangladesh Relationship: Presentation of the Dhaka University Study."

The South Korean Ambassador to Bangladesh Lee Jang-keun was present at the seminar.

According to Momen, the government of the southern side of the Korean peninsula struggled once with the slow progress rate of project implementation as well, which they had rectified by introducing some ground rules and by awarding or punishing project managers for their performances.

“Globally, South Korea is ranked as the number one country in ‘completion of contracts’," he said at the programme organised by "East Asia Study Centre" of the university at the Foreign Service Academy in Dhaka.

“They [South Korea] are number one because they never shuffle project managers around and managers, depending on their performance, are given strategic promotions and incentives. The managers who perform below par face serious scrutiny, even get demoted or prison time,” Momen said.

According to World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 study, Bangladesh ranks 168th while South Korea's position is 5th.

Though Dhaka's position on the index has improved compared with previous years, Momen believes Bangladesh still has lots of ground to make, especially if the other South Asian countries are taken into consideration.

Seeking Seoul’s assistance, the foreign minister said: “We only progressed eight ranks in the ease of doing business index, we need to do much better. I believe our South Korean counterparts will help us to improve in this area."

The findings of the study, which were presented at the ceremony, revealed that the bilateral trade between Dhaka and Seoul has surpassed $2 billion for the first time in 2021, making South Korea one of the major trading partners of Bangladesh.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has on many occasions expressed her frustrations over the delays in major government projects and ordered stakeholders to find the root cause.

‘Support us in repatriating Rohingya, please’

Momen also asked for South Korea’s support in repatriating the Rohingya, who have taken refuge in Bangladesh following a massive crackdown by the Myanmar government, which killed hundreds of thousands of them.

Since Seoul “maintains close ties with Naypyidaw, both diplomatically and economically”, he urged that the South Korean government support Dhaka in repatriating the refugees.