Govt leans on advisory clout
The new government has amended its rules of business, empowering Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to appoint as her advisers and special assistants as many persons as she deems necessary.
The amendments authorise the premier to determine the terms and conditions of the appointments as she deems expedient in public interest, and also allow her to let any of the advisers or special assistants attend meetings of the cabinet or any other government committee.
Exercising his constitutional authority, President Iajuddin Ahmed on Thursday brought the amendments to some sections of the rules of business, sources in the cabinet division said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already appointed to herself six advisers with the ranks and status of full-fledged ministers.
Highly placed sources in the government told The Daily Star on Saturday that Hasina, also the president of Awami League (AL), is expected to appoint a few more persons as her advisers.
On functions of the advisers and special assistants, the new provisions say the prime minister may seek advice and assistance from them on any subject.
An adviser or a special assistant will also be obliged to carry out any special task assigned to him or her by the prime minister from time to time.
On their resignation or termination of their appointments, the new provisions say any of them may resign from his or her office by submitting a written resignation to the prime minister, and the prime minister may also at any time terminate the appointments.
Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, a senior official of the cabinet division said the new provisions were incorporated in the rules of business to avoid legal complexities regarding appointments of prime minister's advisers and special assistants.
The immediate past BNP government appointed four advisers with the status of state ministers to different ministries without amending the rules of business, resulting in legal complexities, said the cabinet division officials.
About the unspecified number of advisers and special assistants the prime minister is being allowed to appoint to herself by the new provisions, the officials said the number of advisers needed might fluctuate from time to time.