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Public Expenditure Tracking BootCamp Held in Dhaka

If people don’t get a grip on government spending, there will be no growth. The facilitators mentioned the importance of Expenditure tracking for realizing a change for the better in accountability systems on a two days training ‘Public Expenditure Tracking BootCamp” held on 8th and 9th of October, 2021 at Unnayan Sohojogi Team- UST, Adabor, Dhaka. This Bootcamp was jointly organized by Participatory Research Action Network – PRAAN and ActionAid Bangladesh. The goal of this Bootcamp was to provide guidance and hands-on training on Public Expenditure tracking and its techniques and useful tools to the participants.
Democratic Budget Movement- DBM Secretary Monower Mostafa, Bondhon Executive Director and Treasurer of PRAAN Aminuzzaman Milon joined the inaugural session. Expenditure Tracking Expert Shahid Ullah, AAB Deputy Manager – QAPS Iqbal Hossain, Data Collection Expert Razu Ahmed Masud, Democratic Budget Movement Vice-President Aaman Rahman, the Supreme Court of Bangladesh Barrister-at-Law Jyotirmoy Barua joined and facilitated several sessions on the training. The whole event was moderated by PRAAN Chief Executive Nurul Alam Masud.
In his welcome speech, Mr. Aminuzzaman Milon said that the issues related to public expenditure at present in our country are quite complicated as these are not a popular kind of discussion. ‘I strongly believe, this training will support you to achieve the skills of analyzing public expenditure from a critical perspective and also provide you with skills to track local government institution budgets by marking the shortcomings and corruption’, he delivered to the participants. DBM Secretary Mostafa Monower officially inaugurated the two-day-long BootCamp. As people do not have space to put their opinion in the national budget, so this is not democratic. Budget literacy must be included in the agenda of youth so that the discussion could be spread among the community people as well, he mentioned in his inaugural speech.
There were several sessions conducted throughout the training. Through the discussions of unboxing national budget and plan, understanding expenditure tracking, community service mapping, social audit, right to information Act, Digital Security Act, Data collection, and reporting, the participants were enabled to unpack the potential of implementing theories into practices, developing ideas and thoughts in a structured and supported way. The program provided a common platform for participants and facilitators to meet and connect, share ideas and experiences to build knowledge and upskill.
The facilitators used different participatory methods like service mapping, brainstorming, group presentation, Q&A, etc. for the sessions. During the two days of training, participants acquired fundamental skills on expenditure tracking and got a clear idea about the Fiscal policy of the Government of Bangladesh. They have also got a clear vision of how the Government gets the money (Sources) and where do they spend that money (Expenditure allocation).
Mr. Shahid Ullah discussed the government policies that guide several national planning. Expenditure Tracking is a democracy of 365 days, he said. There is therefore a need to pay much closer attention to the political context of the various methods of expenditure tracking and budget monitoring. He also shared the tactics and classifications of social audit. Group work was conducted by Nurul Alam Masud where the participants portrayed their nearby public institutions, they usually go for services.
Iqbal Hossain from AAB assisted the participants to get familiar with the Right to Information Act. There are national and international obligations of the right to information for the citizens, he said. Jyotirmoy Barua added that Digital Security Act 2011 has put some sets of restrictions here in exercising right to information. So, there is an utmost necessity to know the proper strategies to exercise our right to information safely and securely.
Ms. Sharmind Neelormi, Chairperson of PRAAN and Professor of Jahangirnagar University joined the closing session of the BootCamp. She expressed her happiness that young people including participation from the rural part of the country are taking innovative actions to ensure accountability in public services is so inspiring for all of us. Young people are the changemakers of society. So, their willingness to work for the betterment of services and the wellbeing of community people can bring an overall positive change in public services. Certificates of completion were distributed among the participants at the end of the closing session.
The participants came with some individual plan sketches of public expenditure tracking to implement in their community institutions. Facilitators as well shared their own experiences of challenges that might be faced by the participants if they want to implement their ideas.
The BootCamp was conducted following the health protocols for COVID-19.

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