Government's development spending rose 40 percent year-on-year to Tk 32,997 crore in the current fiscal year's first five months on the back of an increased use of foreign aid.
From July to November, the ministries and divisions spent 20.11 percent of the annual development programme's (ADP) allocation, according to the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division.
By this time last fiscal year, 19.13 percent of the allocation or Tk 23,594 crore had been spent. The government has allocated Tk 164,085 crore for development spending for the current fiscal year.
Use of foreign aid has been higher both in terms of implementation rate and amount. In the first five months, aid spending stood at Tk 13,648 crore whereas it was Tk 6,671 crore in the same period a year earlier.
In the July-November period, project aid utilisation in ADP stood at 22.59 percent of the total aid allocation in contrast to 16.68 percent in the same period a year ago.
However, the rate of spending from the government's own resources was much slower.
Allocation from the government's own fund in the ADP was Tk 95,515 crore, of which 18.55 percent was spent in the five-month period; it was 20.86 percent in the corresponding period last fiscal year.
The spending, however, rose in terms of amount: Tk 17,718 crore was spent in the five-month period against Tk 14,747 crore a year earlier.
A planning ministry official said a major target of the government this fiscal year has been to speed up foreign aid-funded mega projects. The government plans to spend more than $7 billion in foreign aid in the current fiscal year.
Recently the Economic Relations Division (ERD) reviewed the implementation status of 63 foreign-aided projects. It found the implementation rate of 28 projects to be very slow.
The official said the target of utilising $7 billion from aid might not be reached finally but the rate of utilisation in the current fiscal year would increase compared to last year.
Of the 15 large ministries and divisions that account for 80.83 percent of the allocation combined, five spent a higher amount than the average.
The power division spent the highest (47.84 percent) followed by the agriculture ministry (27.25 percent), the road transport and highways division (26.79 percent), the local government division (23.76 percent), and the primary and mass education ministry (23.75 percent). On the other hand, some ministries and divisions that have been implementing a number of mega projects saw their implementation rate progressing at a single digit.
One of them is the bridges division, which is implementing a number of mega projects including the Padma bridge. But the division could spend only 7.13 percent of the allocation it received in the July-November period.
The division's biggest project is the Padma bridge one, which got Tk 5,524 crore for the current fiscal year. But only Tk 342 crore was spent in the first four months. The total cost of the priority project is Tk 28,793 crore, of which 49 percent has been spent till November last year.
The railways ministry also implemented only 9.63 percent in first five months against an allocation of over Tk 12,000 crore. Of the allocation, Tk 7,000 crore has been allocated for the Padma rail link project.
An official of the ministry said China Exim Bank would finance the Padma rail link project. But as the loan agreement has not been signed between the railway ministry and the Chinese Exim Bank, the work is not progressing at the desired rate.
The budget set aside Tk 10,502 crore for the science and technology ministry in the current fiscal year, with a majority of the fund going to the Rooppur nuclear power plant project.
In the first five months, the ministry spent only Tk 527 crore, which was 5 percent of the total allocation.
A finance ministry official said the Russian contractor has prepared a schedule for construction work of the power plant and the work is going on as per the schedule.
“So, the progress of the construction work seems slow now but at the end of the fiscal year the implementation rate will improve,” he said.
The ICT division spent 12.54 percent of the ADP fund, the health services division 16.06 percent, the secondary and higher education division 15.36 percent, the housing and public works ministry 16.76 percent, the shipping ministry 17.67 percent, the energy and mineral resources division 9.15 percent, and the water resources ministry 9.99 percent.