The government has reduced the planning ministers' technical assistance project approval power.
From now on, the minister or state minister for planning will only be able to clear technical assistance projects worth up to Tk50 crore, according to a new circular by the Planning Commission.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved the circular on Tuesday during a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC).
According to the circular, any technical assistance project worth more than Tk50 crore will have to be presented to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC).
However, the planning ministers' authority in approving investment projects will remain the same.
According to the previous circular on ministerial project approval power issued in 2016, the planning or the state minister for planning were empowered to approve all projects costing more than Tk10 crore, including foreign aid and government funding. They were also authorised to approve projects where government funding was more than 20% of the project cost.
Speaking about the new decision on his power, Planning Minister MA Mannan told journalists, "My wings have been cut."
Meanwhile, the NEC meeting on Tuesday also approved a new circular on the preparation, processing, and amendment of public sector development projects.
The new circular also made it mandatory to conduct a feasibility study before accepting any investment project with an estimated cost of over Tk50 crore. Moreover, a feasibility study should also be done for projects that cost less cost, if the project is deemed important.
Previously, such studies were mandatory only for projects with estimated costs of over Tk25 crore.
Speaking at the press conference after the meeting, Pradeep Ranjan Chakraborty, secretary, Planning Division, said, according to the new circular, from now on, development projects will be reviewed every month in a meeting with the secretary of the ministry or division concerned. After six months, another review will be done under the chairmanship of the minister concerned.