Several government ministries and divisions have declared 157 projects as complete although some works have been left undone – a financial irregularity that prevents people from coming by the projected benefits, according to analysts.
These include a project to improve the quality of teaching, establish schools, colleges and a training institute for nurses, along with some crucial infrastructural projects in Dhaka.
The Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) of the Planning Ministry noted these lapses in a report by analysing data of the development projects for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The report was launched at a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday.
"Declaring unfinished projects as completed ones is a financial irregularity. People and the private sector will be deprived of getting the targeted benefits of the projects," said Prof Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).
Rahman said the non-completion of projects imposes a fiscal burden on the economy and the government will have to pay additional money to complete these projects.
He said the IMED had provided several recommendations toward enhancing the quality of project implementation, but the recommendations were not followed.
According to the IMED report, the government set a target to finish 346 projects in the 2018-19 fiscal year. Different implementing agencies declared 312 of them complete. But in reality half of those projects remained unfinished.
The IMED report named some of those incomplete projects, including the teaching quality improvement project supposed to be implemented by the department of Secondary and Higher Education. Over 10 percent of the project was incomplete, it was found.
Another project included establishing 11 secondary schools and six colleges in Dhaka, but it was declared finished with 28 percent of the work remaining to be done.
A project undertaken by Dhaka City Corporation to improve urban infrastructure in 2011 was declared complete with less than 50 percent of the work done.
Planning Minister MA Mannan said he was totally unaware about the issue and promised to look into the matter.
"It is not wise to declare a project complete, leaving some works undone," Mannan told The Business Standard after the NEC meeting on Thursday.
"I have no idea about this issue. I will ask my officials and take necessary measures," said the minister.
However, IMED Secretary Abul Mansur Md Faizullah said it was not unexpected for some projects to be declared complete without implementation of some works.
"Some components of several projects were identified as impossible to complete, so the authorities concerned finished these projects without implementing some works," he said.
He added that some of those projects were declared complete by spending lower than the allocated funds.
The NEC on Thursday revised the development outlay for the current fiscal year at Tk192,921 crore from Tk202,721 crore in the original allocation. ***