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The Financial Express

Bridges Division to return 43pc of funds for failing to implement projects

| Updated: January 27, 2021 10:59:20


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Bridges Division to return 43pc of funds for failing to implement projects

The Bridges Division, failing to implement projects in time, has proposed to surrender more than 43 per cent of its fund allocations in the development budget, officials said on Saturday.

The division has proposed cutting the fund allocation in the upcoming revised annual development programme (ADP), as it failed to spend even half of the allocation for the Padma Bridge construction project, they added.

Insiders said the division usually demands large amount of funds in the ADP, but surrenders the allocations at the fag end of fiscal years.

Meanwhile, many projects of some ministries and public agencies are struggling with lower fund allocations, as they sought higher amount during the ADP preparation for the current fiscal year (FY), 2020-21, they added.

The Planning Commission (PC) has already started revising the current Tk 2.14-trillion ADP, as the ministries and divisions concerned performed poorly in project implementation in July-December period (first half or H1 of FY 21).

A senior PC official said it is very painful for the country that the important ministries usually take much higher allocations against some projects in the development budget than their capacity of spending.

"After several months, they surrender a good portion of their allocations following failure to execute the projects in time. This practice should be stopped," he added.

According to the government officials, the Bridges Division has sought a Tk 44.98 billion outlay for the upcoming revised ADP, which is 43.44 per cent lower than the original allocation in the current ADP.

In the original ADP for the current FY, the government allocated Tk 79.53 billion funds for the entity to complete the annual target of its development project works.

Meanwhile, the Bridges Division is one of the worst performers in project implementation among all the big ministries and divisions, as it has executed only 20 per cent of its projects under the ADP during H1 of FY 21.

According to the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED), the Bridge Division spent Tk 15.81 billion during July-December period, which is only 20 per cent of its total Tk 79.53 billion annual allocation.

The project implementation rate is even 4.0 percentage points lower than the average project implementation rate of the ministries and divisions under the ADP.

Another PC official said the Bridges Division has been cutting its fund in the RADP over the last few years.

In last FY, the agency got Tk 85.80 billion allocation in the ADP, which it later surrendered by 21 per cent to keep Tk 67.15 billion.

In FY 2019, the division obtained Tk 91.57 billion outlay in the ADP. At the second half of that FY, it slashed the allocation by 30 per cent to Tk 63.78 billion in the RADP.

"Since the Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) has failed to spend the allocation target for the Padma Bridge construction project during H1 of this fiscal, we need to downsize our overall allocation," said a senior official of the Bridges Division.

In the original ADP, the BBA obtained Tk 50 billion outlay for building the Padma Bridge. But, the entity later proposed to slash 58 per cent fund requirement to Tk 20.99 billion in the upcoming RADP.

The BBA has targeted to complete construction work of the country's largest multipurpose bridge by early 2022.

The Bridges Division is currently implementing six projects including the Padma Bridge, Karnaphuli tunnel, support to Dhaka elevated expressway, and Dhaka-Ashulia elevated expressway construction.

The Bridges Division is the ninth largest development budget holder among all the ministries and divisions, as the agency received 19.80 per cent of the total Tk 2.14-trillion ADP outlay for implementing its projects.

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