11 days ago

Govt walks tightrope in shaping new ADP

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The government gets tightfisted in framing the annual development programme (ADP) for the next fiscal as a prolonged global economic crisis gives it limited choice in spending, officials said.

In an order the Planning Commission (PC) has asked all ministries to avoid taking fresh projects and keeping the ongoing projects on their list in the ADP for the fiscal year 2023-24, they said, evidently as the government had to trim the current recipe for fund constraints.

"The global economic crisis could not end soon. So, we will take cautious approach in framing the development budget for the upcoming fiscal," State Minister for Planning Prof Dr Shamsul Alam told the FE.

"We have to pass through a 'tightrope' in the next fiscal, too," the minister said.

Meanwhile, the PC in an order for all the ministries has urged them to be cautious in taking development projects and prioritise food security and agricultural production-related schemes.

Besides, the commission has also advised them to undertake projects related to agriculture industry, power and human-resource development, and tackling natural calamities.

"Not only the ADP, the entire budget for the next fiscal will be framed based on the cautious approach so that inflation and less-important expenditures can be checked. Simultaneously, we will also try to keep higher GDP-growth momentum," Prof Alam says about the next budget outlook and priorities.

He rules out complacency with their better economic condition, as he reminds of financial pains worldwide. "Two US banks suddenly collapsed last week. It means the global economic turmoil will not be over too soon," he cites for reality checks.

A senior Ministry of Finance (MoF) official said the size of the ADP for the FY2023-24 would not be increased much compared to the current one as the government has taken a cautious approach to spending in view of the global scenarios.

In the current FY, the government framed a Tk 2.46-trillion ADP. And early this month the government downsized the development programme to Tk 2.27 trillion amid the national and international realities.

A senior PC official says: "We have asked ministries not to take fresh projects rather to give more stress on completing the ongoing projects in the development budget. We will not entertain fresh projects in the upcoming ADP except for some highly-priority ones."

"We have also warned the ministries that the PC would not carry over those projects in the upcoming ADP which are kept for completion in the current Revised ADP."

Also, the slow-moving projects will not get priority in fund allocation. "Rather we will recommend the ministries to scrap those. We will divert the funds from the slow-moving ones to the priority projects."

The planning commission will also give highest priority to the foreign aid-supported projects in the next ADP as Bangladesh needs more external funds to cushion the economy, the official adds.

Ministries also have been asked not to give any fresh project list for inclusion in the upcoming ADP for projects whose DPPs have yet to be formulated.

Only lists of those projects will be incorporated into the upcoming ADP the DPPs of which have already been formulated by the ministries or are under process in the PC for approval.

Meanwhile, the global economic crisis has hit hard Bangladesh's economy as its economic growth rate could fall even below 6.0-percent mark from an impressive over 7.0-percent trajectory maintained over the last few years.

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