Transparent Army Purchase Sought
Friday, 22 October 2010

A parliamentary watchdog as suggested changes in the defence purchase rules to ensure transparency.

The JS body suggested that the government pass a new law on defence purchase updating the decades old guideline 'DP-35', which the previous BNP-led government refused to modify.

The parliamentary standing committee on defence ministry at its meeting on Thursday suggested that the defence procurements in Bangladesh would accelerate if the DP-35 (defence purchase-1935) rule was updated in line with the public procurement act of 2006.

The parliamentary body, however, recognised that the new law must have some exemption clause for sensitive military purchases.

"The defence purchases in Bangladesh are done in accordance with the DP-35 framed during the British time. But the rule is time-consuming in many cases; it needs modernisation and updating," Idris Ali, the committee chairman, told reporters after the meeting at parliament building.

"The committee has recommended that the government enact a law on defence purchase in parliament to ensure transparency and speed in procurement," said Ali, a former defence secretary charged with corruption in defence equipment procurement.

He said the government must follow a lengthy and cumbersome process of taking legal actions if any suppliers fail to act as per the terms of contract.

"The committee thinks that some defence purchases should be different from other public procurements," said Ali.

The parliamentary standing committee on defence ministry in the previous 8th parliament refrained from bringing the defence purchases under the purview of the public procurement act.

Lt Gen Mahbubur Rahman, the then chairman of the same watchdog body, told that all purchases in the armed forces were "sensitive and related to country's security and sovereignty".

A BNP MP and committee member Anwarul Kabir Talukder reportedly proposed bringing the defence purchase under the public procurement regulation of 2003. But his proposal was rejected by most of the committee members.


The standing committee also recommended the government to increase the number of military-run cadet colleges in the country.

"We have suggested that the ministry should set up at least one cadet college in each of the 19 old districts," said the chairman.

There are 12 cadet colleges for boys and three for girls. These residential cadet colleges are run and managed by the armed forces.

The government spends a large amount of money for the cadet college students. At least 27 percent of them join the armed forces after their higher secondary exams, according to the ministry's figure. Cadet college students are generally exempted from taking the full array of exams and tests for entering the defence forces.

"We have recommended a specific proposal for setting up a cadet college for female students in Khulna, Narail, Gopalganj and other south western districts," Monzur Kader Quraishi, a committee member, told reporters in presence of the chairman.


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