THE TIB report portrays a very dark picture of the local government bodies. But it only reconfirms what is already public knowledge. The said report shows that bribery, which is employed to grease the palms of various officials, nepotism and political influence, determine the approval of local government projects. This picture is fairly representative of the state of affairs in almost all the government ministries and departments. What is perhaps news is the percentage of the project funds, 10 percent of the outlay, that line the pockets of the various ministry officials for their munificence.
It is a shameful narrative of the way corruption has been institutionalized. And for institutions that have to do with the alleviation of poverty, rural development and provision of social safety net, the deleterious consequences of such rampant corruption need hardly be emphasised.
It would not be remiss to suggest that local government institutions have been used in very partisan manner to give monetary benefits to party members at grassroots level. Local party members and the local MPs control the approval of projects and the use of funds of the local bodies. And much of the responsibility for poor state of local government bodies have do with the way that these bodies have been made dysfunctional by keeping them under the thumb of the government and the local MPs.
We would hope the LGRD minister would be motivated enough by this report to do something to bring a semblance of probity in the way funds are used by his ministry which, by the way, has got around seven percent of the national budget.