Article_014

Organisation Structure and Operating Procedure for Telecommunication Development Management
(Teletech:2000)

Mahbub-ul-Haque
Director, BTTB

Introduction For providing telecommunication services, expansion of telecommunication network is a basic pre-requisite. Besides, replacement of old network is also a necessary pre-condition for ensuring satisfactory services for the customers. And, for the above, planning and implementation for new telecommunication network is a basic activity for an organization providing telecommunication services.

Bangladesh T & T Board, in view of the above, has been undertaking actions for planning and implementation of new and replacement of old network. BTTB, among others, has developed organization, outlined procedure, placed personals and allocated finance, for the aforementioned activities. These activities have contributed to develop telecommunication network, no doubt, but there are still scopes for improvement of the area.

This paper has been prepared for reviewing the organization structure and operating procedure for development activities of BTTB. Efforts shall also be made to put forward some suggestions, in respect of the same, implementation of which shall improve the situation at least to a certain extent.

II. Organization Structure for Telecommunications:

Development: For Planning and Implementation of the development activities, there is a planning and development wing in BTTB. The v is headed by a Member designated as men (planning and development). This Member assisted by two Directors. One designated Director (development co-ordination) and other as Director (project control). The Din (development co-ordination) is responsible manly for sectioning the estimates of works the Director (project control) to monitor progress of the development projects.

Under the Member (planning & development there is a region. The region is headed General Manager designated as General Manager (planning and development). Ht under his control three Directors, a Divisional Engineers, Assistant Engineers other staff. Besides, there are Project Dire under Member (Planning & Development) i field for executing development projects. Project Directors are field officers having r site officers and staff engaged for the exec of the relevant projects. It may be mentioned the General Manager (planning and development) along with the subordinate officer and staff are paid from revenue budget while the Project Directors and his officials are paid from the concerned projects. The project office closes with the completion of the project works.

The Members (P&D) also looks after Director (technological development and research) and his officials which is an independent office under the revenue budget.

Now from the above, the following issues deserve mention. First of all, the designation of Member (planning and development) may be made more simple. He may be designated as Member (development). Because, planning is an integral part and starting function of any activity. On the top of that, planning does not only relevant to developmental activities alone, the operational activities also call for pragmatic planning. In addition, the designation, Member (development) is more simple. Similarly, the General Manager (planning and development) may be re-designated as General Manager (development).

Earlier, the General Manager (P&D) and the officers under him were attached officers of Central Office. In the recent past, it has been made an independent office. But, it is yet to take its shape as an independent office in letter and spirit. The logistic facilities of this region are still under the control of the central office. But, for easy and proper implementation of the activities entrusted to this region, it should take full control of the logistic facilities.

The Planning and Development Region should have relevant offices necessary for the execution of the works under it. The offices, however, may be stationed in the headquarters and outside. The locations of the offices are important for collection of data which is a basic pre-requisite for proper planning. The officers of this region may be made independent or attached to the region as per requirement and appropriate administrative and financial powers should be delegated to them. Presently, all the officers of this region are attached officers of the regional office and do not have any administrative and financial power. Infact, this is necessary for execution of the planning and development activities properly.

The office of the Director (TDR) which is responsible for engineering research should be grouped with the academic activities of BTTB. Basic research is an academic activity and so is the training activity. Therefore, both the two activities shall be benefited if these are brought under one umbrella and closely located. The findings of the research may be disseminated to the trainers and the trainees while the research establishment may use for their work the laboratory and library facilities of the training organization. Therefore, the Telecom Staff Collage and the establishments under Director (TDR) should be brought under one organization and the organization should be made independent. This organization shall organize training for all the telecom operators and accomplish fundamental research for the development of telecommunication. It is relevant to mention that almost similar proposal has been made in the Telecommunication Policy, 1998. On re-organization, this organization may be re-named as Bangladesh Institute of Telecommunication Studies (BITS) and be made responsible for organizing education and training for all the telecommunication operators of the country and accomplex fundamental research for telecommunication development.

III. Operating Procedure for Telecommunications Development: The expansion of telecommunications network is initiated with the formulation of a development project. The project is prepared by the Planning and Development region of the Bangladesh Telegraph And Telephone Board. However, at the time of preparation of the project, Planning and Development region is assisted by the officials of the other regions. These regions provide information necessary for the preparation of the project.

Once the projects are formulated these are sent to the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications for submission to the Planning Commission for incorporation in the medium term development plans. The Ministry, however, through it’s planning cell examines the projects before submitting to the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission after detailed examination incorporate these in the medium term plan documents, the basic document for the development of different sectors and sub-sectors of the economy.

Normally, the duration of medium term plan is five years. The next step in the process is the preparation of detailed Project Proforma. These are again prepared by the Planning and Development wing and project offices of BTTB and submitted to the Planning Commission through the Ministry. Once the Project Proforma is approved, the project is launched for implementation.

Now, on re-examination of the aforementioned process, it is observed that neither at the time of

conceiving the project nor before the formula of the Project Proforma, detailed study is made order to consider the social, economic, technical and other aspects of the project. Although few analysis like Benefit Cost Ratio, Internal F of Return are done, but these seem not enough Before formulation of any project, detailed study and analysis should be undertaken relating to suitability in respect of socio-economic development of the country, which shall make the investment and implementation decision concerning project more pragmatic and realistic.

In addition to the above, there is extreme delay in project approval. In order to reduce the de the project approval. In order to reduce the delay, the project approval authority should be handed over to the Ministries. And, the Planning Commission should remain busy with the macro aspects of the plan and the economy at large.

The project implementation starts after approval of the Project Proforma. The implementation is done on the basis of the availability of resources. For that, yearly program is n known as the Annual Development Program (ADP). The Annual Development Program also processed and formulated in the planning and development wing of Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board and passed by the Ministry and the Planning Commission. Once the Annual Development Program is passed, the relevant offices of planning and development wing pares the detailed estimates of the works to be executed. The estimates may be passed be the relevant authorities. The highest authority for passing  the estimates is the Chairman, BTTB

BTTB either engage contractor or execute their own, the works of the approved estimates The departmental staff are asked to accomplish the work if the works are to be executed departmentally. At the time of execution, however, the consultants engaged by the BTTB supervise the works in order to ensure their proper implementation.

Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board used to implement its projects earlier by the departmental staff. There had been limited provision of engaging the contractors. But the use of contractors have left the departmental staff without any work. Our views are two-fold in respect of this. It is not possible to change tradition over night. Besides, experienced local construction companies of telecommunication sector are not available. Therefore, it is felt that the projects of BTTB should primarily be executed by the staff. But in case of big projects contractors may be asked to execute the work. The amount of works to be done by the staff or the contractor should be decided on case by case basis and also on the basis of the situation available at that time.

However, the services of the consultants are very vital. The consultants are to ensure the quality of the work irrespective of the fact whether the work is done by the contractor or by the departmental staff. In this case, one thing deserves mention that, in Bangladesh T & T Board, there were no scope of using the services of the consultants earlier. But during the recent days, the

use of consultants have been ensured by the authority. This is definitely a good step. But, two things deserve to be mentioned in respect of this. First, the consultants should be local as far as possible and secondly they should have the requisite knowledge and experience of the subject. The foreign consultants who accomplish the work in accordance with the agreement of foreign aided project do not always possess the requisite knowledge and experience about our environment. Therefore, if foreign consultants are to be engaged as per the agreement of the foreign aided project they should employ local experts as their local counter part. In fine, the use of consulting services for the of telecommunications should be enhanced as far as practicable. And, in order to facilitate the proposal, the former officers of BTTB may be asked to be organized and render their services for the purpose.

Conclusion : In final, it may be recalled that the organization structure and operating procedure are remarkably important for proper execution of organized activities. A few issues regarding the existing organization structure and operating procedure for the management of telecommunication development under BTTB have been highlighted in the paper along with some suggestions for improvement. These may be found useful by the relevant authorities for improving the development management of this vital sector of the economy.