The Financial Express

Bangladesh's development budget execution lowest in 11 years

| Updated: April 16, 2021 19:40:06

Bangladesh's development budget execution lowest in 11 years

The government agencies implemented only about 42 per cent of the revised development projects in the first three quarters of the current fiscal year (FY) which is the lowest in more than a decade, officials said on Thursday.

They said the overall implementation rate this year deteriorated due to the health ministry's incapability to implement projects.

The ministry, holding 5th largest development budget this FY, could implement only about 21 per cent of its Annual Development Programme (ADP) during the July-March period of FY2020-21.

According to the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) report, all the government ministries and agencies executed 41.92 per cent of the ADP, 3.16 percentage points lower than that of the same period last FY20.

Officials said the ADP implementation rate up to the third quarter (Q3) of this fiscal was lowest in the last 11 years.

The IMED data showed that the ministries and agencies implemented 47.22 per cent of the ADP upto Q3 in FY2019, 45.65 per cent in the same period in FY2018, 45.15 per cent in FY2017 and 42.28 per cent in FY2016.

Similarly, they executed 48 per cent of the ADP in Q3 in FY2015, 43 per cent in FY2014, 49 per cent in FY2013, 45 per cent both in FY2012 and FY2011 in the same period, the IMED data showed.

A senior Planning Commission (PC) official said the government's development works are still in the frail trajectory as the public agencies' project execution capacity are not improving over the years.

Some people may show Covid-19 as an excuse, but as the economy restarted at full speed from early this FY2021, the worst performance was unusual and unpredictable, he added.

The economic activities restarted nine months ago and the ministries and agencies concerned got enough space to achieve their development targets for FY2021, he said, raising a question why the implementation rate lagged behind the previous year's performance.

According to the IMED, the government ministries and agencies spent Tk 877.35 billion, 41.92 per cent of the total Tk 2.09 trillion revised ADP outlay for the July-March period of FY2021.

In the same period of FY2020, they spent Tk 907.04 billion or 45.08 per cent of the total RADP outlay of 2.01 trillion, the IMED data showed.

"Although the government has opened up almost all the economic activities over the last three quarters, the public agencies have failed to prove their capacity in project implementations," he told the FE, requesting anonymity.

"We reminded repeatedly to the executing agencies for completing their tender processing, procurement and other works in time but in most cases they failed, resulting in the lower execution rate," he added.

According to the FE findings, the health ministry was on the lowest lane in terms of implementing the development works even during this Covid pandemic.

Not only this fiscal, the ministry had also performed badly in its development work in the last one decades, resulting in massive service fallout during this pandemic, they said.

The FE analysis has found that the health ministry was the worst performers in implementing development works among the top 10 ADP budget holders in the government.

The project implementation rate was just half compared to the average ADP execution rate during the Jul-Mar period of the current FY2021.

The ministry's Health Services Division (HSD) spent only Tk 25.15 billion, 20.99 per cent of its total Tk119.79 billion in allocation in the RADP.

The FE analysis has also found that the health ministry failed to spend more than 83 per cent of its development budget allocations on an average in each of the last 10 years between FY2011 and FY2020.

It found that the ministry's implementation of the development work capacity had become even worst since FY2015 as it had failed to cross the line of 80-89 per cent.

The analysis also found that the ministry fell behind by 7.0 percentage points on an average from the overall ADP implantation rate in the last one decade.

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