Annual Development Programme (ADP) execution has started gaining pace as economic activities, including development work, are gradually returning to normalcy after getting stuck for nearly a quarter due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Unlike the recent past, steady aid utilization from the very beginning of the current fiscal year helped the implementing agencies post an optimistic performance amid fear of a slowdown of development activities over the corona crisis, suggest latest official data.The development work faced a severe setback in the wake of government imposing a countrywide general shutdown for two months from March 26 after the novel coronavirus started creeping in the country.
In August, implementation of the government’s yearly development plan bounced back to 2.64 percent, Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) data shows.
It remained low at only 1.52 percent in July, the first month of 2020-21 fiscal year. The traditional trend of implementing agencies coupled with corona crisis kept the execution rate low in July.
“ADP implementation became stagnant due to Covid-19 crisis but it is gradually returning to normalcy as most economic activities are resuming,” said Dr Zaid Bakht, Research Director at Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).
The development analyst thinks that the development work of the government shifted to a higher gear from the second month of FY21 as project people started joining work after the overall situation started showing signs of improvement.
Usually, ADP implementation remains low in the first half and speed up in the later half of a fiscal year, especially in the last quarter as it has been a common practice of the ADP implementing agencies.This practice has been blamed by the economic analysts for long as it leads to wastage of hard-earned public money and can not ensure quality of development work.
The public agencies have a lack of ADP implementation capacity as well and they can not cope with the increased size of ADP outlay, according to analysts.
However, Zaid Bakht expressed optimism that the government may take some positive measures to speed up ADP implementation this year, given the work loss due to Covid-19.
“I think the government will gear up things this year as we lagged behind in ADP implementation,” he said.
Despite remaining a bit low, overall ADP implementation stood at 3.89 percent in the first two months, which was 4.48 percent in July-August of the last fiscal year, show IMED data.
Total expenditure also remained somewhat low at Tk 83.51 billion in the period of the current fiscal year, while it was Tk 96.26 billion a year ago when there was no Covid-19 like situation.
Project assistance utilization, on the other hand, improved year-on-year to 3.19 percent this year from 3.13 percent a year ago.
The amount of spent money from foreign loans and grants was also marginally higher at Tk 22.52 billion this year which was Tk 22.50 in July-August months of FY20 even though this segment’s ADP allocation fell to Tk 705.02 billion from Tk 718 billion.
Spending from local resources stood at Tk 57.73 or 4.29 percent of local money allocation, down from Tk 71.14 billion allocated in the last fiscal year.
ADP performance of top 15 ministries and divisions that fetched 81.63 percent ADP money also improved a lot in a month. Their overall achievement was 4.12 percent after two months even though their July’s performance was only 1.67 percent.
Of them, secondary and higher education division posted the highest implementation rate of 9.87 percent followed by 6.37 percent by the industries ministry and 6.33 percent by the railways ministry and 6.02 percent by the primary and mass education ministry.