The national budget should have adequate allocations for mega projects as well as guidelines for their implementation. But Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal's statement did not give any direction for implementation.
Considering the Covid situation, strategies will have to be taken to implement mega projects in the next financial year although such measures have already been taken in many projects.
The implementation period of many mega projects has already expired long ago. But the implementation is still slow. As a result, we are deprived of the economic benefits of the projects. It will be difficult to complete these projects without intensive monitoring by the government.
To ensure adequate allocation for mega projects, the government will have to refrain from taking up a lot of new projects in the next financial year. It is now important to complete the ongoing mega projects instead of taking up too many projects.
We know there are several more mega projects in the pipeline. Given the current situation, it would be better not to approve new mega projects in the next financial year.
Besides, in the current situation, much more allocations will be required in the health and education sectors and equal importance should be given to communication infrastructure projects.
Because if these mega projects are implemented, many economic benefits will be obtained. If these projects are implemented, investment will increase, employment opportunities will be created and economic growth will go up. The mega projects will also contribute to poverty alleviation.
Implementation of Padma Bridge and Metrorail (MRT-6) projects is nearing completion. There remain many complications in the early stages of implementation of the projects. But there remain no complications in the final stages. In order to complete the projects which are nearing the end, the implementation of these projects has to be done by working day and night and holding review meetings every month. At the same time, allocations must be ensured.
Even in the Covid situation, there is no reason to implement the work at a slow pace. The work has to be done keeping it in mind that Covid will remain here for a long time. The sooner the mega project is completed, the faster the country will move forward economically.
The author is a professor at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet)