Chittagong Bureau: Four top administrative officers of Chittagong are traveling abroad amid the government’s austerity measures due to the dollar crisis. Two have already left the country. Another person got permission, will go soon. Questions are being raised in various circles about the foreign travel of three top officials of Chittagong while restricting the foreign travel of government officials by issuing a notification.
It is known that Chittagong Deputy Commissioner Abul Bashar Md. Fakhruzzaman went to France and Chairman of Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) M Zahirul Haque Dovas visiting United Kingdom, Netherlands, France and Germany. Mayor of Chittagong City Corporation (CCC). Rezaul Karim Chowdhury will go to Finland. Moreover, CDA chief executive officer, Sheikh Muhammad Touhidul Islam, is in Japan.
In a circular issued by the Ministry of Finance on ‘suspension/reduction of some expenses of the management and development budget and limitation of foreign travel’ in the financial year 2023-24, besides limiting the foreign travel of the government officials, the related officials with technical knowledge are said to travel abroad, but officials without technical knowledge are going abroad for project work.
In an order dated September 18, signed by Mahbooba Irene, Deputy Secretary of City Corporation-2 Branch of the Local Government Department, CCC Mayor Md. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury was scheduled to go to Finland on September 30 on a 10-day visit to see the ‘underground waste storage system’ of the Finnish company Haba Service. However, the mayor’s visit is being delayed due to lack of visas for other tour companions, said Aziz Ahmed, public relations officer of CCC. When spoken, he said that the mayor is scheduled to go to Finland but has not gone yet. Perhaps the visit is being delayed due to lack of visas for the other officials on the visit. It is not possible to confirm when to go.
In an order dated September 11 signed by Deputy Secretary of Administration-1 Branch of Local Government Department Pintu Bepari, the Chief Executive Officer of CCC was granted permission to visit Japan between September 25 and October 13 to participate in a workshop titled ‘Capacity Building of Local Governments for Development with Community Participation (B)’. Sheikh Muhammad Tauhidul Islam. In the meantime, he has gone on a tour of Japan.
Aziz Ahmed said that the chief executive sir went on a visit to Japan a few days ago. Although he could not confirm when he went, he said that the tour was for 20 days.
Meanwhile, in an order dated September 24 signed by the Joint Secretary of Administration-6 Branch of the Ministry of Housing and Public Works, Mohammad Mizanur Rahman, CDA Chairman M Zahirul Alam Dobhas along with his wife Hosna Jahan Khanum were allowed to travel abroad for 21 days from September 25 to October 15. The order mentioned that he will visit UK, Netherlands, France and Germany.
In this regard CDA Chairman M. Zahirul Alam Dobash’s personal assistant Zamir Uddin said, “CDA chairman sir went abroad last Wednesday.” I don’t know which country to go to. He will return home on October 15.
In an order dated September 17 signed by Bhaskar Debnath Bappi, Deputy Secretary of Field Administration-2 Branch of the Ministry of Public Administration, 10 days leave to attend the seminar was informed. The order said that the 10-day leave of Deputy Commissioner Abul Bashar Mohammad Fakhruzzaman will start from September 30.
Deputy Commissioner’s Staff Officer and Assistant Commissioner Plaban Kumar Biswas said that Deputy Commissioner sir has left Dhaka for France Sunday for the Indo Pacific Seminar. The seminar may conclude on October 7-8.
Meanwhile, there is criticism in various circles about the foreign trip of three top government officials of Chittagong. Advocate Akhtar Kabir Chowdhury, general secretary of Citizens for Good Governance (Sujan) Chittagong said that the country will not benefit from the foreign visits of government officials. Waste management can be learned by watching YouTube videos. No need to go abroad for that. Moreover, the mayor will be in charge for how many years? When and where will he use the experience of traveling abroad?
This lawyer said that the foreign visit of government officials in the name of seminar-workshop is a kind of pleasure trip. They will travel abroad on state money, do some marketing for the family. These trips are similar to school-college students visiting Cox’s Bazar, Sajek or Rangamati. It is nothing but state money.
Chittagong University Economics Department Professor Dr. Alauddin Majumdar said, “There is a crisis of foreign exchange in the country. Dollar price is increasing day by day. Which has a negative impact on the overall economy. The government has taken steps to curtail foreign exchange expenditure. I heard that a circular has been issued by the Ministry of Finance. Foreign visits of government officials at this time will have a negative impact on foreign exchange reserves. The top officials of Chittagong who are going abroad are also supposed to follow this official circular. But without doing that, it is not desirable for them to travel abroad during this crisis.
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