The Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has called upon the development partners of the country to ensure maximum support in its efforts to fight the Covid-19 crisis and towards recovery.
At the same time, the organisation urged the partners to ensure the highest standards of anti-corruption, transparency and accountability at all levels in Bangladesh, according to a press release issued on Sunday.
No country of the world was fully prepared or had the perfect capacity to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, the anti-corruption watchdog said.
"While full consequences of the crisis remain unpredictable to be assessed in concrete terms at this stage, it is clear that Bangladesh will certainly require substantial donor support," said TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman.
In spite of commendable economic performance in GDP growth and many other socio-economic indicators, as well as globally acknowledged disaster management experience, the crisis has exposed Bangladesh to the worst ever challenges of sustaining the progresses achieved in the health sector and beyond, TIB stated.
The organisation urged development partners to see to it that anti-corruption principles and practices are specifically ensured in all initiatives or projects at all levels of decisions, designs and implementation.
In management and recovery from mega crises like this, funding decisions and project implementation process may often genuinely need to be fast-tracked, the TIB statement added.
"However, nothing justifies any compromise of proactive and on-demand disclosure of information including unrestricted reporting by media and civil society including freedom of opinion," TIB said.
The anti-corruption watchdog further said that public procurement, as rushed as it may often require to be in a crisis, must be subjected to transparency and accountability.
All kinds of procurement risks like collusion, political bias, conflict of interest and overpricing must be prevented by ensuring compliance and accountability without favour or fear, the statement said, adding that improved transparency and accountability will boost public trust and credibility of the government as well as donors.
"A lack of openness will create greater opportunities for abuse of power and discretion as well as collusive corruption and rent-seeking," said Iftekharuzzaman.