The number of development projects for this fiscal year has increased by about 32 percent even though allocation has shrunk, suggesting delays in implementation and reduced budget for each.
The development comes after National Economic Council in a meeting yesterday, which was chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, trimmed down the allocation for the Annual Development Programme by 4.62 percent to Tk 1.65 lakh crore yesterday.
The number of projects in the revised ADP has now reached 1,916 from 1,451 at the beginning of fiscal 2018-19.
Apart from these, there are 985 more projects that are awaiting approval and allocation, according to a statement from the planning ministry yesterday.
Economists recommend working with a small number of projects with high allocation for their timely implementation as it reduces costs and delays. But the government is doing the exact opposite.
The number of projects shot up this year because the planning ministry went on an approval spree ahead of the general election on December 30 last year, said an official requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
As a result, the projects received lower amounts of allocation, he added.
In the revised ADP, the government-owned fund was increased 0.89 percent to Tk 1.14 lakh crore, while the project aid was slashed 15 percent to Tk 51,000 crore, according to the statement.
Besides, the allocation for state-owned enterprises in the revised budget was kept at Tk 9,620 crore. At the meeting, the prime minister instructed chalking up a master plan for projects at the upazila level, Planning Minister MA Mannan told the reporters after the meeting.
The premier also directed opening branches of the Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) in each division so that the projects' progress can be monitored effectively, he added.
Meanwhile, at the meeting officials of the IMED and the finance ministry recommended making retired bureaucrats project directors, said a person in attendance.
However, the prime minister turned down the proposal and directed appointing current officials as project directors and improving their efficiency.