The government's capacity for implementing the development projects dropped further last fiscal year, an analysis showed.
The official data also showed that the development programme execution rate had been showing a downward trend for last one decade.
The government ministries and agencies in the fiscal year (FY) 2010-11 showed their best capacity for implementing the development work which has come down in recent years.
The public bodies implemented 72 per cent of their development work under the Annual Development Programme (ADP) in the first 11 months (July-May) of FY2011. It plummeted to only 57 per cent during the same period of FY2020.
Planning Commission members and some other secretaries of different ministries told the FE that the coronavirus had hit the development activities severely, resulting in a lower execution rate in the current FY.
However, the government's project execution data in past nine years between FY2011 and FY2019 showed the falling trend from highest 72 per cent ADP implementation in FY2011.
According to the Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED), the ADP implementation rate during July-May period crossed 70 per cent-mark only one time in FY2011. After that it never exceeded the figure for subsequent nine years till the FY2020.
Former World Bank Lead Economist Dr. Zahid Hussain told the FE that lack of governance, transparency and accountability over the years hit the development project implementation capacity of the government severely.
Over ambition and unrealistic project implementation target in the original ADP as well as in the revised ADP was another key reason for the dreary performance of the ministries and agencies, he added.
He said: "Although it is proved that the ministries and agencies had hardly been able to touch even 60 per cent of their original ADP and 70 per cent of the revised ADP implementation target in the first 11 months, the government announced a big development budget every year!"
The IMED data showed that the ministries and agencies executed 72 per cent of its Tk 358.80 billion RADP in July-May period of the FY2011 which started plunging from subsequent FY2012.
In FY2012, the development programme implementation rate was 70 per cent, which further dropped to 67 per cent in FY2013, and 66 per cent in FY2014, the official statistics showed.
In the FY2015, the project execution rate rebounded by 1.0 percentage points to 67 per cent. The 10th parliamentary election was held in the year.
After assuming power in early 2016, the government's project execution rate of the ADP again dipped to 62 per cent in the 11-month period of the FY2015.
The development budget implantation rate (July-May) in FY2017 increased to 65 per cent which further fell to 63 per cent in FY2018.
The project execution showed an upward trend in the last FY2019 than the previous couple of years with 68 per cent rate.
It fell notably during the July-May period of the last FY2020 as the agencies executed only 57 per cent of the total Tk 2.01 trillion RADP which was record low over the last two decades.
A Planning Commission member told the FE that the Covid-19 had impact on all over the country which lessened the development activities over the last three months.
Analysing the reasons for dreary ADP implementation trend, former WB economist Dr Zahid Hussain said the project directors had almost no accountability to the government which encouraged them to show waning performance.
"When a new project starts, the PD and relevant officials work in very enthusiastic mood as they get new cars, honorarium, foreign trips and some other benefits from the project. But when it becomes a little bit older, then the PD and officials try to grab another fresh project of their respective agencies to grab more logistical benefits."
"Look, the ministries or the authorities in most cases know well about the performance of the PDs. But those again assigned him/her in another or even 4-5 fresh projects as the director. So, how the development works will be completed in time?" he asked.
Actually it's a matter of governance, transparency, human resources management and finally irregularities and misdeeds, Dr Hussain said.