Cabinet Committee

Cabinet Committee committees formed at the cabinet level or under directives of the prime minister on matters of national importance and/or of inter-ministerial concern. In Bangladesh, the rules of business 1996 includes specific provisions for the constitution of such cabinet committees. The cabinet or the prime minister may constitute standing committees of the cabinet and assign functions to them which may be considered necessary. Ad hoc cabinet committees may also be constituted for specific purposes.

The standing committees of the cabinet constituted so far by the government are: (i) Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase (CCGP), (ii) Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), (iii) national economic council (NEC), (iv) Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC), (v) Cabinet Committee on Law and Order (CCLO), and (vi) Cabinet Committee on National Awards (CCNA). The prime minister or in his/her absence the finance minister chairs the NEC as well as the ECNEC. The terms of reference of NEC are to provide guidelines for the formulation of Five-year plans, annual development programmes, and miscellaneous other macro-economic policies. On the other hand, ECNEC is responsible for considering and approving concept papers of all investment projects, reviewing the implementation of development projects, considering all private and joint investment proposals, etc.

The Planning ministry provides secretarial services to both NEC and ECNEC. The Finance minister heads CCGP and CCEA and the Cabinet Division provides secretarial services to these two cabinet committees. The Minister of Home Affairs leads CCLO and the Ministry of Home Affairs is responsible for providing secretarial services to this committee. CCNA is at present headed by the minister for Foreign Affairs and the Cabinet Division provides secretarial services to the committee. This committee is responsible for examining proposals of different ministries/divisions for the grant of various national awards. All standing committees of the cabinet are composed of senior cabinet ministers, although other ministers, including those not having cabinet rank, may be included in some of these cabinet committees.

Any decision taken by the cabinet committees which is not required to be ratified by the cabinet shall have the force of a decision of the cabinet when approved by the prime minister. The minutes of discussions and decisions of a select number of cabinet committees are circulated to members of the cabinet by the cabinet secretary (or by any of his senior aides). But for the cabinet committees put under the responsibilities of other ministries/divisions, the secretaries and their senior aides of the concerned ministries/divisions are to provide the secretarial services.

The government also constitutes a number of inter-ministerial committees primarily for the purposes of policy implementation and disposal of cases where more than one ministry is involved. These inter-ministerial committees are more often constituted with senior civil servants. Ministers generally represent those committees that deal with the policy matters of the government. [Mohammad Ayub Miah]