Development budget to be revised upwards instead of slashing downsize

Business Report

The Planning Ministry last week approved the revised annual development plan at an inter-ministerial meeting with proposal for pushing most sectoral allocations upward instead of reducing it like the previous years. The new proposals call for an 11 percent increase in allocations to meet demand for higher growth.
Accordingly the Revised annual development pan (RADP) has been proposed at Tk 200,546 crore up from original Tk 180,869 crore in the current fiscal 2018-19.
The draft was placed before the meeting at the NEC building with Planning Minister MA Mannan in chair. Decision on the new proposals would be taken later on after further reviewing the demands, the minister said after the meeting. “We have not reached any decision yet about the final size of the ADP,” he said.

The meeting reviewed the status of ADP implementation and a decision on the RADP will be taken in another meeting next month, the minister said. Some 35 ministries and divisions have demanded Tk 36,000 crore additional allocation in the meeting 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 said he would make sure quick implementation of the big projects and for that matter he would personally visit field level offices of different ministries and divisions to demand speedy execution of projects.
He identified several problems in implementing the projects. “For instance, one person is managing several projects, although different projects should have different project directors,” he said. Another problem, he identified, is that the project directors were supposed to stay in the project areas, but they do not stay there.
Land acquisition is another problem in initiating or completing the projects, he said. Mannan said adding that he will take the issues to the prime minister for a solution.

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