The rate of implementation of the Annual Development Programme (ADP) in the first five months of the current fiscal year (FY’15) was as low as 21 per cent.
Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, who did not hide his worries, while speaking at a ‘press meat’ Sunday, listed a number of reasons for the slow execution of the ADP, the problem of land acquisition being at the top of the list.
Mr. Mustafa Kamal, however, speaking at another function in Dhaka on the same day, expressed the hope that the economy would post a 7.0 per cent growth this fiscal, reports the Financial EXpress.
The Ministry of Planning (MoP) in a report has identified 11 reasons, including complexities in land acquisition, frequent changes of rate schedule, delay in appointment of consultants and lack of monitoring for the poor ADP execution performance.
It also focused insufficient allocation of fund, frequent change of project directors, improper formulation of work plan and Development Project Proposal (DPP) Technical Project Proposal (TPP), incomplete design of structure and problems in getting committed finance from the donor agencies as other hindrances for the slow progress.
Addressing a Meet-the-Press over the current ADP implementation status held at the NEC conference room in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area, Mr. Mustafa Kamal said the land acquisition-related complexities badly affect the ADP implementation.
“Our suggestion is to evaluate each project, keeping land acquisition in mind. The ministry has already taken a number of moves to bring further acceleration in development activities,” he said.
He said the development projects would be executed in a different manner from the next fiscal year where the project-wise execution would be addressed.
The Planning Minister said around 200 to 250 development projects were implemented in a fiscal in the past. “But we hope that the number would be 300 or more in the current fiscal,” he said.
About the implementation progress of mega projects like Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Mymensingh highways, Mr Mustafa Kamal said the construction is going on and, hopefully, it would be completed by the next fiscal year (FY’16).
According to the current ADP implementation status, the Ministry of Science and Technology became the top performer with the progress rate of 80 per cent while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was the worst one with a ‘zero’ per cent performance.
The progress report said the top 15 Ministries and Divisions in terms of highest ADP allocations spent an amount of over Tk 130 billion or 21 per cent during the five-month period.
Of the statistics, the Local Government Division posted the highest expenditure of around Tk 37 billion (28 per cent) during the time followed by the Ministry of Science and Technology Ministry Tk 18.45 billion (80 per cent), the Power Division Tk 16.51 billion (18 per cent), the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education Tk 16.33 billion (29 per cent) and the Bridges Division Tk 8.62 billion (10 per cent).
The report also said some 24 Ministries and Divisions managed to achieve progress rate of 20 per cent and more while some 13 Ministries and Divisions in between 15-20 per cent, three ministries and divisions in between 10-15 per cent while 15 Ministries and Divisions less than 10 per cent.
Seeking anonymity, a senior official at the Planning Ministry said the constructors have no other option but to go for rapid execution in the last half of the fiscal (FY’15) to overcome slow progress.
“And it might raise the question of quality construction activities. Anyway, we’re doing our best to ensure quality of the development works,” he added.
Another FE report adds: The country is likely to achieve 7.0 per cent GDP growth in the current fiscal year, the planning minister said Sunday.
He expressed the hope while addressing a round-table on “Harmonisation of Economic Policy in Bangladesh”, organised by the Board of Investment (BOI).
Unlike other countries, the minister said, the growth in Bangladesh will be sustainable and inclusive one taking into consideration everybody’s interest.
“To make the growth more resilient, the government is contemplating harmonising the economic policies, making these complementary to each other, to expedite the country’s economic growth,” said the minister.
At present, many of development works, transactions, trade and business are being hampered because of policy complications and lack of coordination, said the minister adding that all the policies will be incorporated in a harmonised way in the Seventh Five-Year Plan (SFYP) the implementation of which will begin in July next year.
“There is no harmonisation, convergence and compatibility with the policies, even among the government institutions in banking sector, capital market and other financial and non- financial institutions”, said the minister.
Even there is no policy for merger, acquisition and amalgamation of companies, which, the minister said, might help a company to get rid of sickness.
“But the SFYP will incorporate all necessary policies touching all economic issues including banks, insurance, future market, venture capital and so on …., said the minister adding that measures will also be taken to bring down the cost of doing business.
Held at the auditorium of the Bangladesh Institute of Administration and Management (BIAM), the conference was also addressed among others by BOI executive chairman Dr MA Samad and Daily Arthoniti Editor Zahiduzzaman Faruque. Former minister Dr Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir presented the keynote paper. A large number of government officials, mainly from the BOI and concerned ministries and trade bodies attended the seminar.
In his paper, Dr Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir pinpointed the anomalies and lack of coordination and policy complications which are slowing down and sometimes hindering development works. He pointed out that despite substantial increase in the size of the national budget the development budget still remained undersized, compared to the expenditures allocated for the Armed Forces and the administration.
He lamented that infrastructure development, especially physical infrastructure as well as power and energy, could not take place in tune with economic development.
“The private sector growth initiative will be slowed down unless these infrastructure obstacles are removed accordingly,” said Dr Alamgir, also chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.
He called for taking policy measures for revival of sick industries and harmonisation of economic policies to remove the complexities that hinder smooth functioning of development works.
Mr Zahiduzzaman also shared his experience as to how the Sidr victims are passing their days almost without food and shelters in remote southern districts where the cyclone left a vast trail of devastation.
They could not get rid of the curse mainly due to lack of policy support and coordination of local government bodies although a huge amount of money is being spent for their rehabilitation and welfare, he said.
The BOI chairman in his welcome address also stressed the need for giving all-out policy supports to the private sector that accounts almost 80 per cent of the country’s investment.