Implementation of the Annual Development Programme (ADP) has been moving at a snail's pace owing to pandemic induced disruption of supply chain and crisis of skilled foreign workforce.
However, the ADP implementation rate started to gain speed with the improving Covid situation. Ministries and their divisions spent 13.06% of ADP allotment in the first four months (July-October) of the current fiscal, according to the latest report by the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED).
Last fiscal year, when the pandemic situation was much worse, the implementation rate was 12.79%, which was 14.25% the fiscal before (2019-20)
The IMED report also shows, in the 2019-20 fiscal 17% from the government allotment was spent in the first four months while spending from the state fund in the current financial year was 14.28%. However, spending from foreign funds and the own funds of implementing agencies increased a little compared to pre-Covid time.
Dr Md Waliur Rahman, additional chief engineer, Roads and Highways Department and project director, Improvement of Elenga-Hatikamrul-Rangpur Road to a four-Lane Highway said, "Project implementation was slow due to the disrupted supply of construction materials during the pandemic. For example, development work on the Elenga-Hatikamrul-Rangpur highway to four lanes was hampered due to the suspension of Indian stone imports. But the issue has been resolved and the implementation work has started to pick up speed. Again, many infrastructure sector projects faced a crisis of foreign consultants and skilled workers. But this problem has been solved as well."
Dr Sayema Haque Bidisha, research director, South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) said, "The ADP has been implemented in a similar manner all along. Expenditure is usually low at the beginning of the financial year. Most of the total allocation is spent in the last two-three months of the fiscal. Although the implementation of ADP was hindered after the Covid hit, there was no significant difference in the implementation rate. However, the ministries and departments has failed to address the key problem, which is to ensure the implementation of ADP as per targets while maintaining quality from the beginning of the financial year."
Dr Sayema suggested strengthening the monitoring system and taking immediate steps for necessary reforms.
Meanwhile, among the 15 ministries that have received the highest allocation in the ADP, the Health Service Division is lagging behind the most in terms of spending. In the first four months of the financial year (July-October), the division was able to spend only 3.99% of the allocation. With this pace of implementation at the outset, it has become uncertain whether a significant portion of the allocation can be spent by the end of the fiscal year.
Despite the poor state of the health sector, which was apparent during the pandemic, the Health Service Division could not spend 42% of the allocation at the end of the last fiscal year 2020-21.
The Medical Education and Family Welfare Division is lagging behind in implementing the ADP. In the first four months of the current financial year, the expenditure of this division is 6%.
Health Service Division officials said there were complications in the implementation of some projects. Most involved in projects were doctors, who according to the officials, lack experience in expenditure or construction of physical infrastructure, affecting timely project implementation.
The Ministry of Science and Technology is implementing the Rooppur Nuclear Power Project, the most expensive project in the country. The ADP implementation rate of this ministry is a bit low as it too was unable to spend as per the target. The ministry spent only 9.50% of the allocation in the first four months of the fiscal year.
Other ministries and divisions that are lagging behind in ADP implementation despite having the highest allocation include the Ministry of Shipping, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism and the Ministry of Housing and Public Works.