ADP implementation slows down
The World Bank in its latest Public Expenditure review has found that 22 per cent of the development projects over the last five years have not expended any monies allotted to it at all. That a fifth of the annual development plan (ADP) has seen no action raises grave questions about the viability of such projects on financial grounds. We also find that about 13 per cent of projects are facing delays, but what is worrying is the static projects keep getting allocation year after year. This is a colossal waste of resources, which could otherwise have been used for more productive sectors in the economy.
A rethink is necessary at policy level as to what projects ultimately make it into the development portfolio. The current practice is to include populist projects lacking in viability but are included nonetheless as it has become a practice for lawmakers to promise the sun and the moon and everything in between to constituents at election time. Regardless of such age old practice, it is high time for a culling of non-starter projects from the ADP. The continuous addition of new projects every year hardly helps matters with such a backlog of unimplemented ones.
The ad-hoc system of planning and adopting projects without parliamentary discussion raises the risks of both cost overruns due to slow implementation and adopting projects that address short term goals as opposed to strategic ones. We can only emphasise the need for better planning at the time formulating the development plan.