Thursday, 9 December, 2021

Project delay is self-defeating

In a time when Bangladesh is hungry for growth and economic development, it is unfortunate that implementation of some projects are either going on at snail’s pace or totally standing still. Reportedly, some important ADP projects are limping for years without any progress even though their deadlines have already expired or are ending shortly. The Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) has identified 14 such projects and issued letters to the implementing agencies seeking explanation.

We in this column have repeatedly emphasised the need for proper and timely implementation of development projects. Even the Prime Minister herself has expressed her dissatisfaction over the inordinate delay in this regard.

Traditionally project implementation process has been discouragingly slow in Bangladesh although construction works of some of the fast-track projects have been going on at a breakneck speed until the coronavirus pandemic dealt a devastating blow. But regrettably the authorities concerned have so far dealt with the problem softly. Thus a stern approach of taking punitive measures for project delay is long due.

Besides, the authorities concerned should set a time-bound realistic action plan for the contractor to finish the work by the stipulated timeframe with maintaining project quality in line with the contract. Besides, regular monitoring of the implementation process and taking the contractors to task for delay or substandard work are also necessary.

The success of any project depends of a good feasibility study, sound planning and design, timely disbursement of fund and overall timely initiation of the project. But news reports suggest that most of our projects are taken without conducting any proper feasibility study.

Moreover, faulty design and problems related to land acquisition, hiring of project contractors, procurement etc. often delay the projects to take off. Invariably, all of these reasons lead to project delay which, in turn, causes project cost to escalate and public sufferings. So, we must address the root causes of project delay and strengthen our project implementation capacity.