Despite total demand being Tk232,000crore of all the ministries and divisions of the government, the Planning Commission has finalised the Annual Development Programme (ADP) worth Tk205,145crore for the next fiscal year.
This means ministries and divisions are going to receive Tk26,855 crore less than their demand to implement development projects in the fiscal year 2020-2021 due to resource constraints.
The extended committee of the Planning Commission finalised the final draft of the new ADP on Tuesday with a breakdown of Tk134,643 crore from the government's own fund and Tk70,501.72 crore from foreign sources for project support.
The government is implementing the revised ADP worth Tk192,921 crore in the current fiscal year while Tk130,921 crore was allocated from the government fund and Tk62,000 crore from foreign sources.
Allocation for the new ADP will increase by Tk12,224 crore, 6.34 percent higher than the revised ADP of the current fiscal year.
Planning Minister MA Mannan presided over the meeting of the extended committee, and all secretaries of the Planning Ministry and members of the Planning Commission were present.
Mannan told The Business Standard, "The committee has approved the final draft to be presented before the prime minister at the meeting of the National Economic Council which will be organised virtually or physically on May 19."
Planning Secretary Muhammad Nurul Amin said, "Autonomous institutions will spend Tk9,466 crore from their funds and the final size of the ADP will reach Tk214,611 crore."
Meeting sources said the transport sector proposed the highest allocation of Tk52,183 crore for the next fiscal year, about 25.25 percent of the entire ADP. The physical infrastructure sector will receive the second highest amount of Tk25795 crore, followed by the power sector, Tk24,804 crore.
These three sectors have received the highest allocation in the last decade.
The health sector is in the seventh position with an allocation of Tk13,033 crore, behind education, science and technology, and rural development sectors.
The planning minister expressed wonder regarding proposed allocation for the health sector and said, "We expected that this sector will receive the highest amount to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, but there has been no significant change."
He said a series of meetings were held among the Finance Division, the Planning Division and the ministry concerned. "They finalised the amount. The Planning Ministry has nothing to do if the ministry concerned demands lower amount."
Responding to a question, Mannan said, "The government has no alternatives but to finance the fast-track projects and projects which are waiting to be concluded within the next fiscal year."
"In order to finance the priority projects, some of the ministries proposed a lower amount than their demand."
Dr Zahid Hussain, former lead economist of the World Bank's Dhaka office, said it is high time that the government reset the priorities and emphasised health, agriculture, food security, social safety net and education sectors.
"Allocation for the health sector in Bangladesh is less than one percent of the gross domestic product, which is the lowest among all countries of the world," he said, recommending increasing investment in this sector.
Planning Secretary Muhammad Nurul Amin said no project will be hampered due to lower allocation of fund.
"The Planning Division is ready to increase allocation for any projects in revised ADP," he added.