2020-05-18 23:27:50 BdST

New ADP burdened with carryover projects

One-third of the 1,677 projects earmarked for the development programmes in the next fiscal year are old ones that will be carried over from the 2019-20 fiscal year, according to Planning Commission data.

The government is likely to approve the programmes on Tuesday at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Size of the annual development programmes (ADP) of FY2020-21 will be Tk205,145crore, of which Tk134,643 crore will come from the government's own fund, while Tk70,501.72 crore will come from foreign sources, said Planning Commission Secretary Muhammad Nurul Amin.

The new fiscal year will start with 1,677 development projects; the number was 1,573 at the beginning of the current fiscal year. The number of projects will increase by 104 in the upcoming fiscal year.

"Autonomous institutions will spend Tk9,466 crore from their funds and the final size of the ADP will reach Tk214,611 crore," he explained.

The planning commission secretary also said the prime minister could add some amount or may cut allocations at the meeting.

Planning Minister MA Mannan said that incompletion is going to create a large stack of projects. He also said negligence and inefficiency are to be blamed for incomplete projects.

Carrying over a project requires additional costs too, he added.

"It is a reality that some projects are not being concluded due to the impacts of Covid-19. All ministries have been asked to concentrate more on the projects identified to be concluded," he added.

Professor Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, said incomplete projects could hamper implementation of other projects.

The ill practice is an identified problem of the entire development procedure of Bangladesh, which is delaying users from benefitting from the projects, he added.

Analysing the proposed ADP reveals that 1,347 unapproved projects are going to be added without allocation. Another 96 projects are also going to be added for approval depending on foreign support.

The government is implementing the revised ADP worth Tk192,921 crore in the current fiscal year – Tk130,921 crore will be allocated from the government fund and Tk62,000 crore from foreign sources.

Allocation for the new ADP will increase by Tk12,224 crore, 6.34 percent higher than the revised ADP of the current fiscal year.

The transport sector is being proposed to get the highest allocation of Tk52,183 crore for the next fiscal year, about 25.25 percent of the entire ADP. The physical infrastructure sector will receive the second highest amount of Tk25,795 crore, followed by the power sector at Tk24,804 crore.

The health sector is in the seventh position with an allocation of Tk13,033 crore, behind education, science and technology, and rural development sectors.

Dr Zahid Hussain, former lead economist of the World Bank's Dhaka office, said it is high time that the government reset its priorities and emphasise health, agriculture, food security, social safety net and education sectors.

"Allocation for the health sector in Bangladesh is less than 1 percent of the gross domestic product, which is the lowest among all countries in the world," he said, recommending increasing investment in this sector.

ADP implementation in first 10 months of the current fiscal year stands at 49 percent.

All of the ministries and divisions implemented 49 percent of the revised ADP of the current fiscal year up to April.

Some Tk98,000 crore was spent in the first 10 months of FY2019-20. The implementation rate was 54.94 percent for the same period.

Implementation of projects almost stopped from March due to the novel coronavirus breakout in Bangladesh, and the rate of implementation is at its lowest in the last five years.

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