Development budget to be revised upwards
In a departure from previous years, the development budget for the current fiscal year is likely to be revised upwards -- by about 11 percent -- to meet the government's ambitious plans.
The planning ministry has drafted a revised Annual Development Programme (ADP) allocation of Tk 200,546 crore. The original ADP allocation for fiscal 2018-19 is Tk 180,869 crore.
The draft was placed yesterday at the ADP review meeting chaired by Planning Minister MA Mannan at the National Economic Council office in Dhaka. No final call was made on the revised ADP at the meeting.
“We have not reached that stage yet,” said Md Nurul Amin, secretary of the planning division, when asked by reporters about the size of the revised ADP budget after the meeting.
The status of ADP implementation was reviewed in the meeting, he said, adding that a decision will be taken in the next one month.
Some 35 ministries and divisions have demanded Tk 36,000 crore of additional allocation from the government's own fund.
The road transport and highways division demanded the highest amount at Tk 5,797 crore despite being one of the poor performers this fiscal year when it comes to ADP implementation.
The average ADP spending in the first seven months of the fiscal year was 34.43 percent, but the road transport and highways division managed only 25.57 percent.
The other ministries that demanded higher allocation include: the local government division (Tk 4,069 crore), the power division (Tk 3,819 crore), the water resources ministry (Tk 2,624 crore), the election commission secretariat (Tk 2,456 crore), the housing and public works ministry (Tk 2,296 crore), and the prime minister's office (Tk 2,246 crore).
On the other hand, 23 ministries and divisions proposed for cuts amounting to Tk 7,200 crore. Of them, two are implementing mega projects and are running behind schedule.
After the meeting, Mannan told reporters that he is hopeful that the full allocation would be used up this fiscal year as the higher-ups of different ministries and divisions have assured him.
Development spending in the first seven months of the fiscal year has been the highest in six years, as the government's efforts to improve implementation is slowly bearing fruit.
Between July last year and January this year, the ministries and divisions spent Tk 62,282 crore, which is 34.43 percent of the total ADP outlay, according to data from the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division.
The amount is an increase of 13.82 percent year-on-year.
Mannan has also taken some initiatives to further expedite implementation, including personally visiting the field level offices of different ministries and divisions to instruct the officials.
He identified some problems in implementing the projects.
“For instance, one person is managing several projects, although different projects should have different project directors.”
Another problem, he identified, is that the project directors were supposed to be in the project areas, but they do not stay there.
Complication with land acquisition is another problem in implementation of the projects, he said. Mannan said that he will take the issues to the prime minister for a solution.