The government has taken out only 19 percent of its borrowing target from the banking system in the nine and a half months of the fiscal year, due to low implementation of development programmes and low spending on subsidy.
Between July 1 last year and April 15, some Tk 4,898 crore was borrowed from banks against the target of Tk 25,993 crore. The figure is 36 percent lower than in the same period of the previous year.
Low utilisation of the Annual Development Programme and an increase in net sales of savings instruments were the main causes behind the government's lower bank borrowing, Zahid Hussain, lead economist of the World Bank's Dhaka office, told The Daily Star.
Furthermore, subsidy spending is low, which further curtailed the government's need to borrow from banks, he added.
In the first nine months of the fiscal year, the ministries spent only Tk 28,428 crore under ADP, which is 43 percent of the total allocation, according to data from the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division. The number compares with 49 percent in the corresponding period of the previous year.
Planning ministry officials said ADP implementation is normally low in the first half of the fiscal year, but this time it was much lower due to political unrest.
For the same reason, the expenditure on subsidy was also low. During the July-February period, the subsidy spending on exports and agriculture stood at Tk 6,571 crore, down from Tk 8,263 crore last year, according to data from the finance division.
Subsidy spending on energy and fuel was around Tk 800 crore in the first eight months—meagre considering the budget allocation in Tk 16,911 crore.
Hussain said the reason for the low spending on energy and subsidy is political unrest that continued non-stop for three months, keeping vehicles off the streets and shops closed.
He, however, expects bank borrowing to shoot up in the coming months as the government expenditure tends to gather momentum in the last two months of the fiscal year.
On the other hand, the government's non-bank borrowing has increased substantially, thanks to increase in sales of savings certificates.
In the first eight months of fiscal 2013-14, the government's non-bank borrowing stood at Tk 6,277 crore, which is about 11 times higher than in the previous year.