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PC under stress to add fresh projects to RADP

Political pressure builds on adoption of these sans study


FHM Humayan Kabir | Published: February 08, 2019 11:11:39 | Updated: February 12, 2019 10:37:15


Picture used for illustrative purpose only — Collected

The Planning Commission (PC) is being pressurised to include fresh unapproved projects in the upcoming revised annual development porgrmmme (RADP) for the current fiscal year (FY), 2018-19, defying the government rules and regulations.

Many ministries and divisions are putting pressure on PC to include a large number of new projects, although only five months remain to complete development work of the current FY, officials said on Wednesday.

Many fresh projects, imposed by the ministries and divisions, are taken up under political pressure and mostly without feasibility study, they added.

PC started work a couple of months ago to revise the current Tk 1.73-trillion ADP, where more than 1,500 ongoing projects are incorporated. It is expected to finalise the RADP by this month (February).

All the public sector development projects are usually executed in the country through ADP every year.

"We have already received two project lists from each of the ministries and divisions. One list includes ongoing projects with fund allocations, and another includes fresh unapproved projects having no fund allocations," said another senior PC official.

"Now we are scrutinising both the lists. We are giving priority to those fresh projects, which are considered important for the country and proposed after completing feasibility study. We are trying to delist the less-priority ones."

The official, however, said some ministries and divisions are putting pressure to include some less-prioritised and unproductive projects in RADP, although the current FY has only five months.

As per the guideline concerned, the fresh development project proposals (DPPs), which the Project Evaluation Committee (PEC) has given green signal for final approval and which are under consideration of approval at PC, will only be eligible for inclusion in the upcoming RADP.

In the current ADP, framed in June of last fiscal, the government included a total of 1,242 unapproved projects without fund allocations in addition to 1,124 development projects.

According to PC, the Road Transport and Bridges Ministry (MoRTB) has sent a list of some 187 fresh unapproved projects, the Local Government and Engineering Department (LGED) sent some 40 projects, the Ministry of Railways sent some 30 projects, and the Fisheries and Livestock Ministry sent 15 projects.

In the original ADP for the current fiscal, MoRTB has some 136 ongoing projects, the Ministry of Railways has 34 projects, and the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock has 28 projects.

The government in the current ADP included a record high of 1,664 fresh unapproved projects without fund allocations, many in political considerations.

But, the number of approved projects, included in the original Tk 1.73-trillion ADP, is 1,347.

Development analysts said the inclusion of a large number of unapproved projects without fund allocations in RADP is bad for an economy like Bangladesh, when in is struggling with lack of quality works.

Economist Dr M A Taslim said if the government considers a large number of fresh projects for RADP, its debt burden will widen amid poor revenue collection in the current FY.

Besides, quality of the projects will seriously be affected, if the agencies concerned take those without feasibility study, he told the FE.

A PC member said they have no other option but to include hundreds of unapproved projects in the ADP every year without fund allocations due to pressure from the ministers, high-ups and powerful political leaders.

But most of these projects remain unimplemented at the end, he told the FE requesting for anonymity.

kabirhumayan10@gmail.com

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