Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has directed the ministries concerned to emphasise only the important projects and put the less important ones on hold in order to save government spending.
"The procurement of non-essential items will remain stop now," she told the ministries while chairing the Cabinet meeting virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban on Monday.
All government projects have already been categorised A, B, and C, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam told reporters at the Secretariat after the meeting.
Now, Category A projects will be allowed to spend 100% of their funding for immediate implementation, projects under Category B will get 75% of their funding, and Category C projects will remain suspended for the time being, he said.
Mega-projects, foreign-funded projects, those that will complete this year, and projects related to agriculture, food security, power and energy have been put under Category A. The number of such projects is more than 700, according to Finance Division officials.
"The government is pushing for the implementation of projects that will be completed in the current fiscal year, including the mega-projects, to ensure the best value for money in tackling the global economic crisis," a Finance Division official told The Business Standard.
According to the Division officials, out of 1,487 projects that got budget allocation in the current fiscal year, 280 will be completed this year.
Besides, 295 projects have foreign funding. There are 150 projects related to agriculture and 66 projects related to power and energy.
Category B has more than 500 projects.
"Projects that will continue for the next two to three years and a little slowed down implementation [of these projects] will not have any adverse effect on the economy, have been placed in Category B by the Prime Minister's Office," a Finance Division official said.
In Category C, there are around 150 projects.
There are 11 projects under the PMO that got allocation in the current budget. Of these, six are in Category A and 5 are in Category B.
The government is trying to cut all kinds of unnecessary costs and also some basic expenditures such as consumption of electricity and foreign tours of government officials.
"There is still scope for overseas tours by government officials under foreign aid and procurement matters. But other overseas visits are restricted," Cabinet Secretary Anwarul Islam said.
Citing an example, he said no official can go abroad on a study tour spending the government's money.
The Cabinet yesterday approved the Sea Fishing Policy 2022, which requires all Bangladeshi boats fishing in the Bay of Bengal to be painted in a uniform colour and provided with unique numbers for identification.
The initiative has been taken to differentiate foreign boats from the local ones, Anwarul Islam said.
"The shipping ministry will have four months to implement the initiative. The colours green and red have been recommended. The fishing boats will also be brought under registration but this will take time," the cabinet secretary said.
He said some 89.51% of decisions taken by the Cabinet from January 2019 to June 2022 have been implemented, while the implementation of the remaining 10.49% is underway.
The Cabinet made 810 decisions during the period, of which, 725 have already been implemented and the implementation of 85 others is underway, according to a report placed at the Cabinet meeting.
The Cabinet also passed the Village Courts Act (amendment).
With this Act, the village court members will have to solve each case within 15 days instead of the existing provision of 30 days. The court can also impose a fine of a maximum of Tk3 lakh instead of the existing Tk75,000.
Teknaf UNO made OSD
Teknaf Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Mohammad Kaisar Khosru was made an Officer on Special Duty (OSD) for verbally abusing a journalist over the phone, the cabinet secretary said.
The High Court on Sunday said, "Only a wrong-headed person can use such abusive words. As a government high official, the UNO should have been more decent."
Anwarul Islam said, "It is not expected that an official would use such words with people. No public officials can deliver speeches like Teknaf UNO."
Meanwhile, the Cox's Bazar district administration on Sunday issued a show-cause notice against UNO Khosru and asked him to explain his indecent behaviour.