Despite intensified effort by the government, the rate of implementation of the Annual Development Programme (ADP) in first seven months of this fiscal year has been the lowest compared to that in the same period in the last three fiscal years.
In the first seven months of the current fiscal year, all ministries and divisions of the government have spent Tk68,980 crore, that is 32.07 percent of the ADP allocation, said a report prepared by the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) on Thursday.
The government declared an ADP of Tk215,114 crore, of which the agencies are yet to spend Tk146,134 crore in the next five months, more than double the amount spent in the first seven months.
Implementation of the ADP in the first seven months of the last fiscal year was 34.43 percent. It was 33.35 percent in the 2017-18 fiscal year, and 32.41 percent in the 2016-17 fiscal year.
All ministries and divisions spent 32.95 percent of allocation from the government portion, 27.96 percent from foreign sources and only 14.71 percent from the allocation of agencies' own funds in the first seven months.
Due to slow implementation of the projects, the planning ministry and the Economic Relation Division (ERD) of the finance ministry have taken initiative to cut Tk9,800 crore from foreign sources.
According to the IMED report, ADP implementation by 17 ministries and divisions is below 15 percent. The Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Industries, Ministry of Shipping, Security Services Division, Ministry of Food, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ministry of Textiles and Jute, Internal Resources Division and some other agencies are in the list of sluggish implementers.
"Finishing development work at the end of the fiscal year without working at the beginning has become a permanent problem, which is a major obstacle in doing quality work," said Professor Dr Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue.
He told The Business Standard that completing a project hurriedly cannot guarantee quality of work. As a result, money is at risk of being wasted.
As the problem has been identified, the government has taken several initiatives to accelerate implementation, but there has been no significant improvement in the result, he added.
The railways ministry has spent only Tk1635.77 crore, which is only 13 percent of allocated Tk12,598.64 crore. The ministry has to spend Tk10,962.87 crore more in the next five months. All the other sluggish ministries will face this type of pressure to implement ADP.
Mofazzel Hossain, senior secretary to the rail ministry told The Business Standard that, "Implementation of two large projects – Padma rail link and Duhazari-Cox's Bazar rail line – were delayed due to several problems. Land acquisition was a major problem in implementing these projects."
He said all problems associated with these projects have been resolved, and the implementation accelerated recently.
He also said the ministry proposed reducing allocation for the projects in the revised ADP, which will be spent within the time limit.
The Power Division has spent Tk13,530.17 crore in the first seven months – 46.88 percent of allocation, which is largest among all the implementers. The Local Government Division has spent the second highest Tk12,129.14 crore – 40.73 percent of allocation.
Abul Mansur Md Faizullah, secretary of the IMED, argued that his division took several initiatives to accelerate early implementation of the ADP, but there was no significant improvement as payment was not cleared despite completing some physical work.
"It is a violation of financial discipline to disburse huge amounts of money in the last quarter, and little in the beginning of the fiscal year," he added.