The government and the NGOs of Bangladesh are engaged in a war of words over the relevance of their respective roles in the nation's development programmes. Finance minister Saifur Rehman's diatribe against local NGOs, occasioned by a World Bank study that praises NGO programmes as being more relevant than government-sponsored ones, had the NGOs crying foul. Rehman questioned the efficacy of NGO programmes in attaining sustainable development, while NGO groups in the country maintain that their role in development was supportive, and devoid of any intention to compete with the government.
Bangladesh's NGOs, particularly the Grameen Bank and the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, have won international acclaim for their programmes to provide credit to the poor. The Dhaka-based Financial Express feels that experiences of successful NGOs could be relevant to the government for bringing about necessary changes in its policies and priorities.(IPS)
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