The Financial Express

Hundreds of projects sans feasibility being pushed

Pressure builds on PC for new projects in RADP

Original ADP - Tk 2.02 trillion, Unapproved projects -1,287

| Updated: January 28, 2020 11:57:57

Evaly and Fianancial Express Evaly and Fianancial Express
File photo (Collected) File photo (Collected)

Different ministries and agencies are piling pressure on Planning Commission (PC) for enlistment of new unapproved projects in the upcoming revised annual development programme (RADP).

Officials said the PC is in a dilemma as ministries have sent hundreds of projects without feasibility studies for inclusion in RADP.

The revised development programme awaits approval by February.

The commission has decided to sit with all the ministries and agencies next week to finalise enlistment of their projects, they added.

To this effect, its programming committee will meet for a four-day consultation at its office from January 26.

"Only four months of the fiscal year 2019-20 will remain after finalising the RADP. So, we'll encourage inclusion of only fresh projects having a national priority," a senior PC official said.

The PC usually enlists in the development programme new projects without giving allocations based on the government's priorities, he told the FE.

Some PC officials involved in the process said they already scrutinised the list of fresh projects. Many schemes are not the priority ones at this moment.

But the ministries want to include those in the RADP.

Alongside the ongoing projects, the RADP usually includes some fresh projects aimed at executing those in future.

The government included in the original annual development programme (ADP) a ballooning number of 1,287 unapproved projects, mostly with no feasibility studies, without funds, insiders said.

Of them, 1,045 are incorporated expecting funds from internal resources and 242 expecting funds from external resources in the next year's ADP.

The government has so far endorsed 1,617 projects which are included in the original Tk 2.02-trillion ADP.

The PC has started to revise the current ADP as the project implementing agencies have failed to execute the targeted work in the first half of this fiscal.

The allocation in RADP is expected to be cut as many ministries and agencies have performed poorly in the work on their projects.

Another senior official said: "The ministries are usually in a hurry to get their projects enlisted, although they don't have any feasibility studies."

"Many of the projects proposed for inclusion are politically motivated."

For example, the official said, the Local Government and Engineering Department alone proposed some 60 fresh projects for inclusion in RADP.

"It means the ECNEC (Executive Committee of the National Economic Council) will have to approve one project in every two days in the remaining four months (March to June)."

Among big ministries and agencies, the Roads and Highways Department has sent a list of 80 fresh projects.

The Bangladesh Railway has sent a list of 34 projects.

According to another official, the commission has expressed reservations about the inclusion of a large number of projects without allocations in RADP.

Such wholesale inclusions affect financial discipline and budget management of the government, he said.

Since ministries and divisions undertake fresh projects beyond their medium-term budgetary framework fund ceiling, many struggle for money, the official said.

"When the government is going to cut the original outlay of Tk 2.02 trillion in RADP because of poor execution, how do ministries pressurise for inclusion of their projects?" he questioned.

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