National Economic Council

National Economic Council (NEC) highest political authority for consideration of development activities reflective of long-term national policies and objectives. Generally, the ministries/divisions formulate their respective plans and programmes as per objectives formulated by the NEC, which consists of all members of the Cabinet and is chaired by the head of the government, i.e the Prime Minister. The NEC meets as and when required, and in one particular meeting the attendance requirement depends on the subjects under consideration. The secretariat of the NEC used to be the Cabinet Division at the initial stage, but later located in the Planning Division. The NEC's functions are to (i) provide overall guidance at the stage of the formulation of Five Year Plans, Annual Development Programmes including all national economic policies; (ii) finalise and approve plans, programmes and policies; (iii) review progress of implementation of development programmes; (iv) take such other decisions and actions considered necessary for socio-economic development; and (v) appoint such committees as are required to assist the NEC in discharging its responsibilities.

Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) According to available records, the composition and functions of ECNEC are laid down in the Cabinet Division Resolution in 1982. However, the said resolution supersedes all previous orders in this respect. In 1982, it consisted of the Minister for Finance and Planning as convenor. Included in the committee were (a) Minister for Industries and Commerce, (b) Minister for Works and (c) Minister of the concerned ministry.

The terms of reference of the committee were: (i) to consider and approve development projects costing above taka 5 crore; (ii) to consider and approve investment projects in the private sector costing above taka 15 crore; (iii) to review the progress of implementation of development project; (iv) to consider proposals for investment companies as private or joint ventures or with foreign participation; (v) to promote the economic situation and review over-all performance of the economy and related policy issues; (vi) to consider financial performance of statutory corporations and specially their financial results; (vii) to consider rates, fees and prices of public utility services or products of public enterprises.

The cabinet secretary, members of the Planning Commission, Governor of Bangladesh Bank, secretaries of Finance, External Resources, Planning and Implementation, Evaluation and Monitoring Divisions including secretaries of the relevant divisions were required to attend its meetings. Since the country was under martial law at that time, the Principal Staff Officer and General Staff Officer to the Chief Martial Law Administrator as well as Chief of the General Staff were also required to attend the meetings of the ECNEC.

Since 1982 the composition and functions of the ECNEC underwent changes. These changes mainly related to the composition depending on the nature of administration that the country was under. For instance, in July 1986 the Deputy Prime Minister replaced the Deputy Chief Martial Law Administrator as convenor of the ECNEC. Similarly, during the Caretaker Government appropriate changes in the composition was made. In September 1991, the Finance Minister became the chairperson of the ECNEC. In October 1991, the head of government became the chairperson. Under the latest notification issued in January 2000, the Minister/State Minister for Planning was deleted from the list of members of ECNEC. Under the latest arrangement, the Prime Minister is the chairperson and the Finance Minister is the alternate chairperson of the ECNEC. The members include Ministers for Local Government and Rural Development and Cooperatives, Education, Food, Water Resources, Industries, Commerce, Post and Telecommunications, Agriculture, Science and Technology. The relevant ministers whose subjects are taken up are also members. The cabinet secretary, principal secretary of Prime Minister's office, secretary of External Resources Division, secretary Planning, secretary of Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Division, Governor of Bangladesh Bank, the relevant members of the Planning Commission and secretaries are required to assist ECNEC.

The terms of reference include the following: (i) consider and approve all project concept papers; (ii) consider and approve all projects recommended by Special Project Evaluation Committee costing above taka 50 million; (iii) review the progress of implementation of development project; (iv) consider private sector investment projects and those under joint venture; (v) monitor economic situation and economic activities of the country and review policies; (vi) review financial programme of public statutory corporations; (vii) consider the output prices of products manufactured in the public sector and determine rates and fees of services, and (viii) consider measures relating to foreign aid, expansion of commerce and determine targets for the Bangladesh missions abroad in respect of export of manpower including review of progress in these areas. [AMM Shawkat Ali]

Bibliography Planning Commission, Government of Bangladesh.