Tuesday, 30 November, 2021

Tenure ending, projects stand still

Some important ADP projects are limping for years without any progress even though their deadlines have either expired or are ending shortly.  

The Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) has spotted 14 such projects and issued letters to the implementing agencies asking for the reasons behind this, official sources said.

The project implementation period has already ended for two of the projects, including the one to set up six full-fledged television centres of state-run BTV, while that of 12 others will end soon.

 “It’s unfortunate that so many projects have not seen any progress at all. With this, the government’s development discipline is being hampered,” said IMED Secretary Pradip Ranjan Chakrabarty.

“Letters have been sent to the ministries concerned, seeking explanations,” he noted, adding that they will fix the next course of action after getting the reply.   

IMED has recommended scraping some of the projects as the practice is seen as a lack of discipline in ADP project management.

For instance, the Tk 13.91 billion projects to set up six full-fledged BTV centres did not get any project director in four years of its start since January 2017. The project deadline expired in December last year.

Project financier China EXIM bank and the Chinese consultancy firm have been blamed for the delay. The information ministry is likely to search for a new source of financing and consultancy if it doesn’t get a quick response from the Chinese authorities, official sources said.

Ministry of social welfare has three projects in the list, railways ministry and housing and public works ministry have two projects each, and foreign ministry, power division, water resources ministry, local government division, NBR and women and children affairs ministry have one each. 

The zero-progress project list includes the social welfare ministry’s ‘our village cancer care and research centre’ scheme that had been picked up at a cost of Tk 228.9 million to set up a cancer treatment research facility. Its time will expire next June.

The ministry’s two other projects include social welfare building construction; and establishing a girls’ orphanage in Mohonganj, Netrokona. Their time will be over next June and December respectively.

Important railway projects like upgrading the Akhaura-Sylhet section’s meter-gauge line into duel-gauge one; and rolling stock operation have been placed in the list as well. 

Two projects under the housing and public works ministry to develop residential plots for low and middle-income people in two separate areas of Noakhali have so far seen no progress.

Similarly, power division’s enhancing the combined capacity of power transmission project with June 2023 deadline, foreign ministry’s Bangladesh house construction in Riyadh project with the same deadline; street light modernisation scheme in Chattogram project will expire in next June, construction of tax building in Khulna, a project of water resources ministry to rehabilitate pump house and regulator in Chandpur; and establishment of community nursing college in Dhaka project is also in the list.

“Failure in completing ADP projects on time generates various types of losses. Labour wages and the price of construction materials are rising day by day. As a result, project cost increases manifolds,” commented Prof Mustafizur Rahamn, CPD’s Distinguished Fellow.

Such type of project delay will affect the utilization of public money and deprive the targeted people of the project benefits; and destroy the development disciple of the government, according to the economic analyst. 

“Projects are approved considering their importance, but failure in implementing those is a matter of great regret,” he remarked.