The government spent just 1.52 percent of the total Annual Development Programme (ADP) allocation in the first month of the current fiscal year, according to a report of the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) under the planning ministry.
They spent Tk3,254 crore in July to implement the ADP while Tk214,611 crore is the total allocation for the whole year.
The ADP expenditures in July of the last fiscal year was Tk3,951 crore, which was 1.84 percent of the allocation for that year.
The actual ADP implementation in July this year dropped by Tk697 crore compared to the same month of the previous year, read the IMED report.
Despite an allocation of Tk3,878.69 crore, the civil aviation and tourism ministry failed to spend a single penny in July this year. Thirty projects of the ministry observed zero financial progress that month.
The allocation of Tk2,141.76 crore for 12 projects of the disaster management and relief ministry also remained unspent.
The IMED report said 13 ministries and divisions have 163 projects for this fiscal year but they failed to start even the minimum implementation in July.
The IMED data analysis revealed that ADP implementation in the first quarter of the fiscal year remains very low and then jumps in the last quarter.
Economists and analysts identified this as an old disease of the economy, saying agencies delay implementation to take advantage of higher disbursements near the end of the fiscal year.
The IMED report said about Tk7,1152.6 crore was disbursed in the last quarter of the fiscal year 2019-20, which was 44 percent of the total spending of Tk161,857 crore. Projects worth Tk17,344 crore were implemented in the first quarter.
Earlier, in the last quarter of fiscal year 2018-19, implementing agencies spent an amount five times higher than the expenditure in the first quarter.
"I just took over on Wednesday (September 2) and that is why I am not the right person to make comments on the issue," said newly appointed IMED Secretary Pradip Ranjan Chakraborty.
He told The Business Standard physical work progress depends on some formalities such as tender announcements, the awarding of tenders and contracts. "All agencies usually take one or two months to finish these formalities."
"Implementation should be done throughout the year to ensure sustainable development," he said, expressing his wish to take proper initiatives to remove any obstacles in this regard.
Dr Towfiqul Islam Khan, research fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue, told The Business Standard agreements and other formalities are required only for new projects which would not slow ADP implementation.
He said the National Economic Council usually approves the ADP about two months prior to the beginning of the fiscal year.
"All ministries and divisions are informed about allocations for their projects. The government has also been maintaining a provision to disburse full project allocations for the last three fiscal years," he said.
There are no significant reasons behind lower ADP implementation in the beginning of the fiscal year, said Towfiqul.
He said the poor practice has been there for long. "Lower implementation, in the beginning, creates pressure to disburse a large amount later, which leads to lower quality of work and abuse of public money."
What agencies say
Md Mohsin, secretary to the disaster management and relief ministry, blamed the ongoing floods for lower implementation of the ADP in July.
He told The Business Standard, "Our ministry is dealing with calamities and most of our activities are being carried out in the disaster-prone areas. That is why we are unable to disburse money without proper evaluation of the work."
Md Mohibul Haque, senior secretary to civil aviation and tourism ministry, did not agree with the IMED report that his ministry had implemented none of the ADP.
He said the civil aviation authority had made a Tk162 crore payment to implement a project at Osmani International Airport, Sylhet.
The IMED prepared the report without proper data, he said.
"Our ministry would be one of the top performers in terms of the ADP implementation," he added.