Luxury at the cost of development

ADP allocation for govt office buildings totals Tk 30b

FHM Humayan Kabir | Published: July 06, 2019 12:05:42 | Updated: July 14, 2019 10:10:51

Representational image (Collected)

Many government agencies are busy constructing luxury, multi-storied office buildings with billions of taka from the development budget overlooking the priority needs, analysts said on Friday.

Development experts and officials criticised the action of government agencies, saying the public money should be utilised in projects that are productive and deliver maximum output.

In the current Annual Development Programme (ADP), some government agencies have undertaken building construction work projects at a cost of more than Tk 30 billion.

More building construction projects of different public agencies are in the pipeline and are awaiting approval from the ministries concerned or the Planning Commission (PC).

The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) is constructing a 13-storied office building at Agargaon at a cost of Tk 628.16 million.

The office will have a space of 11,814 square metres (sqm).

The fund is being provided from the development budget under the current year's ADP.

The CAAB has recently sought revision of its projects seeking 26 per cent higher fund to Tk 791 million.

The Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) is also building a 12-storied luxury office building at Agargaon involving as much as Tk 1.98 billion.

The National Security Intelligence (NSI) is constructing a 20-storied office building at a cost of Tk 2.49 billion.

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) is constructing an office building with Tk 2.02 billion fund from the development budget.

A senior Planning Commission official, preferring anonymity, said his agency always discourages taking up projects that deliver little output.

"But in recent years, we're receiving an increasing number of proposals for office building from different agencies. We are forced to approve those due to the pressure from different quarters," he said.

Economics professor Dr MA Taslim said the projects, which have not adequate productivity, should not be taken up.

"Since public expenditure on health and education is still very low, the development funds should be utilised for skill development, upgrading health services rather than constructing the luxury office buildings," he told the FE.

Dr Taslim said: "The government office could be operated from rented-buildings. The funds that have now been allocated for office building construction could be used for Bangladesh's skill development and health service upgrade."

Another Planning Commission official said more than Tk 30 billion has been allocated for constructing office buildings of different government agencies in the current year ADP.

"If we calculate the sum of allocations during the last five years for office building alone, it will be hundreds of billions of taka," he added.


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