LGED: Second urban governance and infrastructure improvement sector project (UGIIP-II)

--Md. Shafiqul Islam Akand, Project Director

Prelude Accelerated urbanization and rapid population-growth of recent decades in Bangladesh have pushed the aggregate urban population to around 40 million. Projected population size at its current 2.5% growth rate (source), will reach nearly 51 million by 2015.

The stated rapid growth and unplanned urbanization have escalated demand for expanded urban services. However, their linked provisions seldom matched such demand. Inadequate piped water supply, insufficient sanitation coverage, slum-dwellers’ largely resorting to unhygienic latrines, absence of urban sewerage system continue to plug the urban life. To go with them are a health-hazardous & inadequate solid waste collection levels, underdeveloped & poorly-maintained drainage often displaying serious congestion and deficient urban roads & bridges unable to accommodate generated traffic are also very commonplace. Lastly, urban poverty is still rampant and rural-urban migration is extremely high with the majority migrants grappling to find places in the already cramped slums. All such issues severely limit people’s access to economic opportunities and social services.

Going with above, the governance parameters of the Pourashava (PSs) are explicitly weak and poorly addressed. It is highlighted by poor citizen participation in urban matters and lack of accountability, transparency, responsiveness, and financial management.  Pourashava  (PSs) are largely run by the councils in a despotic manner, disregarding the need for responsiveness and accountability. Little is there for poor and women, to have a voice in poura-matters.  On another note, PSs’ inability to generate ample revenue compels them to  fall heavily on the GoB exchequer for support. Their (PSs’) human resources are limited, many approved slots remain vacant and most of the in-place staff are untrained. The PSs enjoy little autonomy to recruit their staff. Besides, most PSs have no land use plans. Coupled with weak governance, investments made are unplanned and discretionary. Class A  Pourashava, despite provision for urban planners, largely kept them vacant.. Lack of proper urban planning leads to inefficient fund-allocations for infrastructure & services. As well, the elected office bearers/officials have little incentive to respond to citizens’ demands. Hence meeting the stated challenges and effect improvement in infrastructure/ services, governance and poverty-reduction fronts warrant priority-addressing by the urban service providing entities, especially the PSs.

The project-purview sessons have been learned from the  projects ADB funded unders project is that improvement of urban infrastructure can be effectively achieved by linking it with governance reform & creating proper incentive mechanism. Specifically they verbalize: ² performance-based allocation in an effective mechanism to create incentives for PSs to improve their governance & management; ² citizens’ participation in urban management improves responsiveness and accountability of  Pourashava PS-leaders;  ²  proper urban planning is essential for efficient resource-use, and  ²PSs’ financial sustainability can be improved through effective tax enforcement.

These lessons learned are being incorporated into the design of any LGEDs funding urban governonce and infrastructure development  projects Additionally, nation-wide institutional frameworks for urban development (UD) are emerging through consolidation of different project-supported initiatives.  LGED, which traditionally supports rural infrastructure development, has made efforts of strengthening its Urban Management Wing with a newly-created Addl CE to manage all urban area-related initiatives. Under it, the Urban Management Support Unit (UMSU) was created by consolidating capacity development programs supported by different projects. UMSU now provides assistance to over 100 PSs. A Municipal Performance Review Committee (MPRC) has been established to review & monitor performance of PSs. UMSU supports it as secretariat. MPRC covers all PSs supported by different projects..

Project Area: UGIIP-2 includes 35 PSs, which are: .

Syllhet Div: Sunamgonj, Sreemangal, Golapgonj

Khulna Div: Satkhira, Jhinaidah, Bagerhat, Benapole, Narail

Dhaka Div: Mymensingh, Faridpur, Jamalpur, Ghorashal, Munshigonj, Sreepur, Bhanga, Mirzapur

Chittagong Div: Noakhali, Chandpur, Cox’s Bazar, Brahmanbaria, Comilla, Chowmuhani, Parshuram

Rajshahi Div: Thakurgaon, Nachole, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Gaibandha, Sirajgonj, Natore, Kurigram

Project Components: The Project consists of three components

(A)       Urban infrastructure & service delivery;

(B)       urban governance improvement and capacity development; and component

(C)       project management & implementation support.

Component A: Urban Infrastructure and Service Delivery

The output of component  A is to develop infrastructures & improved service delivery, which briefly include:

  • urban transport (roads, footpath, culverts, procurement of maintenance equipments etc)
  • drainage (repair/rehab/expansion of existing drainage systems, construction of new drains, procurement of  maintenance equipments  etc).
  • solid waste management (procurement of collection & storage eqp, building of storage, treatment & sanitary disposal facilities, support to CBOs for house-to-house collection, etc)
  • water supply (rehabilitation  of piped WS systems, introduction of non-revenue water programs, construction of TWs, procurement of eqp for metering, O&M, expansion of distribution networks, construction of iron & arsenic removal facilities, etc)
  • sanitation  (public and community sanitation facilities, procurement of eqpt for maint & sludge disposal at onsite facilities, construction of sludge disposal facilities, awareness campaign for better hygiene, etc)
  • municipal facilities (bus & truck terminals, parking areas, kitchen markets & slaughter houses, municipal parks, street lighting, urban landscaping, construction of community ctrs, water bodies, etc)
  • basic services for the poor in slums (improve-ments of roads, drains, footpaths, WS, sanitation, solid waste management & lighting in slum areas, specific components will be identified through development of PRAP (Poverty Reduction Action Plan).
  • PS-subprojects are identified through participatory planning and investment-allocation for each PS depends on its governance improvement- progress.

Component B: Governance Improvement (GI) & Capacity Development

The output of component B is Governance improvement (GI) & developed capacity of PSs. Each PS takes a series of reform activities in six key areas identified in the Urban Governance Improvement Action Program (UGIAP) & the doables are as below:

Citizen awareness and participation .

  • Urban planning
  • Women’s participation
  • Integration of the urban poor
  • Financial accountability and sustainability
  • Administrative transparency

Implementation Arrangements

Arrangements at the Central Level

Executing of the Project is to be LGED, under supervision of LGD of the MoLGRD&C. The all-important Inter-ministerial Steering Committee (ISC) for UGIIP-2 will be chaired by the Secretary, LGD and include representatives from LGD, LGED, the Planning Commission (PC). ERD, IMED, NILG, DPHE, the MoW&CA, MoPW and 3 mayors nominated by LGD. The ISC will convenes  Meeting   whenever necessary, but not less than at least once is every quarter.

A Project Management Office (PMO)has been  established for the management of the project, headed by a Project Director (PD)

The PMO’s principal responsibilities include: a] planning overall project implementation by consolidating PS-level plans; b] assisting PSs in implementing the UGIAP and physical works; c] procuring, managing and supervising consultants hired under the project; d] monitoring and supervising project implementation;  e] ensuring compliance with assurance, including safeguards; and f] submitting reports, including progress reports & the completion report.

Existing central and regional UMSU  provide standard training modules to PSs in close coordination with PMO. Trainings will include four standard modules currently provided that are: § computerization of tax records § computerization of accounting § inventory and mapping of infrastructure &    § community mobilization

The modules would gradually expand. UMSU will keep functioning as secretariat of MPRC.  SE, Urban Mgt  wing, LGED, will act as Director of UMSU. The Addl CE in-charge of urban mgt will coordinate the project activities under overall guidance of the CE, LGED. MPRC will be responsible for rating the participating PSs. It would be chaired by the Secretary, LGD, & consist of the CE (LGED), Addl. CE (UM), DG (LGD), representatives of the PC, ERD, FD & IMED and PSs, an urban governance professional nominated by LGD, representative of DPHE (as an observer), and the Director, National UMSU (as the member secy).

Arrangements at the Pourashava Level

A Project Implementation Unit (PIU) will be created in each Project-PS to implement the UGIAP & physical works. It will be headed by the Mayor & assisted by the CEO & other officials. It includes 3 sections:  infrastructure improvement section urban GI section (UGIS)  and the environmental, sanitation & slum improvement section.

The PIU will be responsible to: § implement UGIAP-specified GI activities and prepare PDP; § implement physical works, prepare bid docs, & procure & supervise contractors with support from the PMO & consultants & ensure safeguard compliance, prepare annual work plan & progress reports.

Special Features

Performance-based allocation

The project adopts a performance-based allocation of funds, as it was proven to be an effective incentive mechanism, experienced through UGIIP on the following criteria.

Extent of fund-allocation to each PS depends on its performance in UGIAP-specified improvements. In Ph-1, a PS starts governance improvement by formulating institutions like TLCC, WLCC, CBOs & initiates preparation of the PDP.

2.         Only after successful compliance in Ph-1, the PS graduates  to Ph-2 and receives funds for investment. PSs will enter Ph- 3 with additional funding, if they meet the performance criteria required in Phase

3.         The amount to be received varies depending on level of performance.

Participatory urban planning

The project introduced participatory urban planning in the PS through the development of PDPs. Broad citizen groups, including women & poor, represented in TLCCs & WLCCs & a series of consultations were carried out to formulate the PDP. This formulation mechanism stood to make the PS office bearers & staff accountable to communities and increase transparency on resource-use & improve in service delivery.

While the urban planner was the key to officially formulating the PDP, the post was often left vacant.. UGIAP required Class A PSs to recruit urban planners, & the project was to provide capacity development for them. For class B & C PSs, the AE functions as urban planner with support from consultants. The project also supports internships specially those studying  urban planning, eyeing to strengthen overall sector capacity.

Pro-poor urban development

Each PDP was to include a PRAP to identify & formulate specific actions for poverty reduction. A SIC was to be established in each target slum to operationalize the PRAP. TLCCs & WLCCs would have sufficient representation of low income group to ensure their participation in decision-making of PS management. To ensure adequate budget for PRAP implementation, minimum 5% of the PS budget  would be earmarked to finance basic services to the  slums.

Private sector participation

The project promotes private sector participation in mgt of urban infrastructure. O&M of bus & truck terminals would be outsourced to private sector through competitive bidding. Private sector participation in solid waste mgt would be examined to formulate feasible mechanisms, & introduced to the extent possible.

Fund Allocation among Pourashavas

Investment funds would be allocated to PSs based on their performance in GI as defined in the UGIAP. The maximum allocation-ceiling  to each PS  is Tk 250 million for  class A,  Tk. 200 million for  class B & Tk.100 million class C excluding contributions by PSs & beneficiaries.

PSs that successfully meet all the UGIAP perf-criteria of ph-1 will graduate to ph-2 & be entitled to utilize at most 50% of the investment ceiling. It is expected that the standard period meeting ph-1 perf-criteria would be 18 months, MPRC’s assessment of the performance against ph-1 will be carried out semiannually. PSs that fail to meet ph-1 criteria within 2 years of loan effectiveness will lose entitlement for fund allocation.

At the end of ph-2 MPRC will rate PSs’ performance. The rating will be “fully satisfactory” should  a PS meet all ph-2 perf-criteria,  “satisfactory” should  the PS meet the minimum requirements of ph- 2 criteria, or “unsatisfactory” if the PS fails to meet all minimum requirements. The ‘fully satisfactory’ PSs will receive a maximum 50% of the investment ceiling, ‘satisfactory’ PSs 25%, & unsatisfactory PSs no additional fund.

All class A & B PSs, not included in the project, are encouraged to carry out UGIAP activities. MPRC will rank such fund-aspirant PSs based on their level of achievement of UGIAP perf-criteria. Approx. 15 PSs having highest ranking would be entitled to receive at most 50% of the ceiling. In the middle of ph-2, overall fund utilization will be assessed & the candidate PSs would be identified. By end of ph-2, the new PSs will be determined by the ISSC subject to fund availability.

 Highlights of Achievement todate

UGIIP-2 is around its midway of its stipulated project life. Over the period, some significant achievements have been made. Brief portrayals of some salient achievements are:

Comp A: Urban Infrastructure & Service Delivery

  • Urban Transport: Approved sub-projects are   202 us number, which are  expected be completed within the  specified time-line.
  • Drainage:Number of approved under this component sub-projects is   – 51 .  All 35 drainage master plans are in the process of finalization. Work on the sub-projects is on track.
  • Solid Waste Mgt:Number of approved Sub-projects is 19 SWM Sub-projects are in implementation in 15 PSs, while LA process for the disposal sites are in progress in 13 PSs. .
  • Water Supply: Number of approved  Sub-projects under this component is 9  Works on the sub-projects are on and planned to be completed within given time-point.
  • Sanitation: Sub-projects approved – 20 . Works on the sub-projects are Satisfaction  progressing.
  • Municipal Facilities: Sub-projects approved – 32  Works under the sub-projects, inclusive of bus terminals, kitchen markets, streetlights, etc are progressing to a given time-frame.
  • Basic services for the poor in slums: Sub-projects approved – 21 Works encompassing the sub-projects that entail TWs, drains, footways, streetlights and provision of dustbins are progressing well and expected to be completed listerine there given time-period.


Comp B: GI  & Capacity Development

  • Citizen Awareness & Participation: All 35 TLCCs formed on time, inclusive of  women & poor members. Todate 241 meetings have been held, that included  33.79% women representation. On the other, so far 2,463 WLCC meeting have been held that included 42.91% of women participation.. Notably, women’s voice were heard in these meetings. Given the facts, both participation, accountability & transparency of the PSs (as outcomes from TLCC & WLCC meetings) stand plausibly improved.

Citizen-Charter has been evolved by all 35 PSs & displayed at key points within the PSs for people’s awareness.

Introduction of Citizens’ Report Card (CRC) has been quite a laudable step regarding citizen-PS communication and the consequent messages conveyed to the PSs to improve service-dimensions. In all, there had been 12,300 HHs reporting in each of the 2 surveys carried out todate, representing through the CRC, that have  given a voice to the citizens to transmit to the PSs their perception/views on the adequacy /appropriateness of the PS-services.

Grievance Redress Cells (GRCs) as well have been installed at all 35 PSs. So far 6,560 complaints /grievances were received & 3,625 cases were mitigated.

Improved urban planning : All 27 urban planners have been deployed on time (Class A PSs). Regarding formulation of PDP, base map, land-use plan & annual O&M plan, all 35 PSs met the targets.

Enhanced women’s participation : Women’s participation stands accomplished. As a count, there are 588 women members in the 35 TLCCs. On the other hand, 1,524 women are on the 369 WLCCs that exemplifies the project-stipulated women-empowerment which remains a project priority.

Gender Action Plan (GAP), including identified budget have already been prepared and under implementation in all 35 PSs, while Gender Committees (GCs) were formed & are functional w.e.f  2010. By one account, 93% of total GAP-related expenditure has been achieved in Jul’11-Mar’12 period (3 qrtrs), which is encouraging.

Enhanced participation of the urban poor : TLCCs & WLCCs include 1,022 members from the urban poor communitus in 35 PSs,  which ascertains the participation of the poor in these forums

Poverty Reduction Action Program (PRAP) have already been formulated along with budgetary provisions in all 35 PSs.

Slum Improvement Committee (SIC) have been formed in 21 out of 35 PSs (remaining 14 are either addressed by other projects or have no slums).  So far, 153 slums have been selected & established that include 17,415 impoverished families. These slum dwellers are already  actively participating in SIC-activities, including implementation of infrastructural facilities.

Improved accountability & sustainability of pourashava finance : Interim assessment of holding tax were & as well, are being carried out by all PSs.  Computerization  & Operationalization of  tax records have been completed in 35 PSs, and the as well.

In respect of increase in the holding tax, a large majority of the 35 PSs displayed admirable rise in a significant the collection efficiency & aggregate collections. Encourag-ingly, between FY ‘09-10 & ’10-11, there had been a sharp rise in collection by 34%.  The same for FY’10-11 & ’11-12 is a staggering 55.7%. These positive results have been derived from a well-orchestrated effort and constant pursuing by the PMO and are attributable to a determined approach of motivating the individual PS.

On non tax revenue, between FY ‘09-10 & ‘10-11, there had been an estimable rise in collection to the tune of 34.2%. The same for FY’10-11 & ’11-12 has been a very good 29%. On this front as well, the project made rigorous efforts to motivate the PSs to try to improve the non-tax revenue earning of the PSs.

The project conducted a large nr of training programs for the PS personnel, slum dwellers, contractors & a few others. Such training included both male and female personnel as training recipients. Incidentally, of all trainees, a healthy 31.35% had been female personnel. These skill-raising training are displayably helping the recipients to discharge their duties better and improving the administrative transparency of PSs..

The PSs have displayed notable awareness and promptitude in settling debts and payment of electric & telephone bills which were specific UGIAP requirements.

Improved administrative transparency and efficiency: Each of the 35 PSs have made a headway in formulating Organizational Develo-pment Plan.  In this regard, currently, LGD is in the process of developing organizational structure for the different classes of PSs.

UGIIP II has been able to inspire and make the PSs aware of the very need for implementing the stated plans/intents and to adequately finance them from their own source – all as  a part of improving the quality and quantum of Poura-services and down the road, better address the requirements of good urban governance.