Non-performers will be removed, Hasina tells ministers

January 12th, 2009 - 12:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Jan 12 (IANS) Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has told her team of ministers, 25 of whom are newcomers, that she would remove them if they fail to perform.She told them to take charge of their ministries within seven days after which she “will not accept excuses”, New Age newspaper quoted her as saying Monday.

“Take full charge of your respective ministries within seven days, and work to overcome the challenges we face. I’ll not accept any exception,” Hasina told them.

In an identical message to the officials, she asked them to eschew luxury.

“You are the public servants… All of you should work neutrally and fearlessly in keeping with the rules and regulations and remain non-partisan in discharging responsibilities,” Hasina said as she addressed her first meeting with the secretaries to various ministries and divisions Sunday.

She sternly reminded the top bureaucrats of their responsibility as public servants, saying government employees and officials were given salaries from the taxes paid by the people so that they could deliver.

“Don’t say no to any work with excuses of legal barriers. Instead try to find ways to overcome them,” Hasina told her maiden meeting with secretaries to different ministries and divisions.

She said: “We’re the lawmakers. Tell us, if you face any legal barrier in executing plans. Laws can be amended and new laws can be enacted to pave the way for public development.”

The government led by Hasina, also the Awami League president, assumed office Jan 6, 2009 after the party had a landslide victory in the Dec 29 national elections.

Prime ministers in Bangladesh generally work from out of the prime minister’s office (PMO). However, Hasina wants to break with the tradition in a bid to be a constant source of encouragement and deterrence for her cabinet colleagues, and to be a more efficient leader.

In a bid to make the civil bureaucracy work better, Hasina said she will spend most of her office hours in the secretariat, Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister G.M. Quader told The Daily Star after the meeting.

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