Some 192 projects under the Annual Development Programme (ADP) could not spend a single penny in the 2019-20 fiscal because of the corona pandemic and other issues.
This finding was revealed in an ADP review report prepared by the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED). The report was placed at the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting on Tuesday.Tk 18.97 billion was allocated against these projects, including some important projects like Metrorail-5 and Akhaura-Sylhet metre-gauge rail line schemes.
“The reasons for the slowdown include corona pandemic, no fund release or delayed-release, land acquisition problem, delay in floating tender and tender becoming non-responsive,” IMED Secretary Pradip Ranjan Chakrabarty said. Other reasons are not getting loans, insufficient allocation, litigation problem, development project proforma (DPP) revision, delay in approving the revised DPP, and lingering loan contract signing with the development partners.
The IMED report suggests that 49 out of the 192 projects are from the roads and highways department.
“Some projects are kept alive with a nominal allocation of Tk 1 lakh and those are included in RADP after resolving their problem,” said an R&D department high official, seeking not to be named. Work of some projects might have been done but bills have not been paid, which might have been reflected in zero financial progress, while some projects might have faced land and other problems, he added.
The projects with financial progress include 18 projects of education ministry, 17 of local government division, 17 of housing and public works ministry, 15 of power division, 11 of water resources ministry, 10 of social welfare ministry, seven of shipping ministry, five each of health services division, Industries ministry, PMO, CHT affairs ministry and foreign ministry, two of energy and mineral resources division, four of youth and sports ministry, two of rural development and cooperatives division and one each of NBR, food ministry, textile and jute ministry and information ministry.
Tk 1.40 billion was allocated for Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Project (Line-5) in FY20’s ADP, but no money could be spent on this important project designed to construct a Metrorail from Hemayetpur to Vatara.The same thing happened to the Emergency Water Supply project of Dhaka WASA and construction of bus bay and separate lane from Dhaka’s Mirpur to Uthali and Paturia projects. Respective allocation against these projects was Tk 423.8 million and Tk 300 million respectively.
The projects also include modern road lamp setting up a project for Chattagram City Corporation, setting up of three wholesale kitchen markets project in Dhaka, safe water supply across the country project, setting up community nursing college, land acquisition for Jagannath University campus, further development of Patuakhali science and technology university and construction of multi-storey buildings for government officials in Gopalganj, among others.
“The inability to spend ADP money is against the discipline of the action plan as the show reasons are old and known. So, it should be known what steps were taken before undertaking the projects to address the issues,” commented Dr Zahid Hussain, former lead economist at World Bank’s Dhaka office.
Even though no money was spent on the projects, much time and working hours have been spent on the projects, he pointed out.