It may take four to 12 years to complete 1,426 ongoing development projects because of slow implementation and meagre allocation, highlighting the need for the government to prioritise works and accelerate execution to avoid cost and time overruns.
The grim scenario was painted in a presentation of the planning ministry at a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) yesterday.
The meeting approved a Tk 225,324 crore annual development programme (ADP) for the next fiscal year of 2021-22, which is up 14 per cent from the revised budget in the outgoing fiscal year.
The combined estimated cost of 1,426 projects is Tk 16,60,807 crore. Of the sum, Tk 556,351 crore may be spent as of June this year.
The rest Tk 11,04,456 crore will be allocated in the coming years, and it may take four to 12 years to finish the projects at the current speed of execution.
An official at the planning ministry blamed meagre allocation, an excessive number of projects, delay in timely implementation, and inclusion of new projects for the lengthy execution period.
Many projects are usually included in the development plan every year, but they are not completed on time. These projects are granted lower allocation and see a repeated extension of the deadlines.
The NEC yesterday gave consent to a list of 596 new but unapproved projects, and no funds were allocated in favour of them. They will be included in the revised ADP following the go-ahead from the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council.
The deadline of at least 678 projects out of 1,426 projects will expire by June this year. The planning ministry, in its presentation, said their deadline needed to be pushed back by June 30.
The government has targeted to complete 356 projects in FY22. But they might not be completed by the year-end, the official said.
The current ADP has planned to finish 441 projects by FY21. But at least 57 projects will not be completed on time, so they were included in the new ADP.
The size of the original ADP in FY21 was Tk 205,144 crore. The planning ministry has proposed to slash it to Tk 197,643 crore in the revised budget as the coronavirus pandemic has hampered development works.
In the new ADP, the contribution of foreign assistance will stand at Tk 88,024 crore, which is up 39.72 per cent from the revised outlay of Tk 63,000 crore.
The portion of the government will be Tk 137,299 crore, an increase of 1.97 per cent year-on-year.
The transport and communication sector was given the highest allocation of Tk 61,721 crore among all the sectors, which accounted for 27.39 per cent of the new ADP.
It was followed by the power and energy sector Tk 45,868 crore, the housing and community services sector Tk 23,747 crore, the education sector Tk 23,178 crore, and the health sector Tk 17,306 crore.
The Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant received Tk 18,426 crore, Matarbari Coal-based Power Plant Tk 6,162 crore, the fourth primary education development programme Tk 5,053 crore, the Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development project Tk 4,800 crore, and the Padma Bridge Rail Link project Tk 3,823 crore.
The NEC also approved an additional Tk 11,468 crore for the state-owned enterprises.