PC adopts austerity for public expenditure cuts

Project approval faces tightfisted control

| Updated: June 22, 2022 17:34:51

Project approval faces tightfisted control

Approval for development projects faces tightfisted appraisal of costs and tenures for controlling public expenditure under government austerity stance amid a worldwide financial crunch.

Officials say less-important or low-priority projects will be subject to strict check and recheck under the Planning Commission (PC) belt-tightening action.

Not only fresh projects, it has also taken a cautious approach to revising the ongoing projects and extending their execution period.

"We are cautiously handling the development projects. From undertaking a project to revision or inclusion in the development budget, we are strictly following the priority list of the government," Planning Secretary Pradip Ranjan Chakraborty told the FE Monday.

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) recently issued guidelines for project processing and approval which are also being maintained strictly, he said.

"We have already informed all the members at the PC to endorse projects maintaining the PMO guidelines," says Mr Chanraborty.

Talking with several divisions, sectors and wings of the PC, this correspondent has found officials concerned going by such strict strategy during project scrutinising for approval or revision or time extension.

In recent days, taking the tip from government top orders, the PC officials scrutinise all the fresh projects before taking into consideration.

They are also maintaining the similar approach to revising the ongoing projects or extending the execution tenure.

A deputy chief at the Planning Commission said the PC took a stand to allocate adequate money to the ongoing projects while discouraging the undertaking of fresh schemes.

The government has taken up 1,441 projects in the newly approved Tk 2.46 trillion worth of Annual Development Programme (ADP) for the next fiscal year (FY) 2022-23.

In the revised ADP for the outgoing FY2022, some 1,771 projects are included for execution.

Another PC official says lots of time-extension or-revision proposals for the ongoing development projects are coming in the Commission in recent days.

"When the implementing agencies send revision-or time-extension proposals, then we seek detailed action plans and their execution details. We are telling them to send detailed time and date of every action of the project."

They are taking information including the date of project approval, tender floating, tender evaluation, work order, commercial contract with contractor regarding the project execution. Dates and the action plans are being meticulously verified. For any mismanagement or delays, explanations are sought from the agencies.

"Actually, based on the priority and importance we have classified the ongoing projects in three categories-high, medium, and low. We are applying our strategy for the approval or allocating money," he adds.

An FE analysis has found more than 500 projects kept aside in the ADP for completion within the next FY2023.

Mamun Al Rashid, a Member of the PC, told the FE that like government's strategy, the PC is also applying the same to undertaking fresh projects.

"We are strictly maintaining the PC guidelines for approving as well as revising the projects," he says.

"Actually, we have already taken up lot of infrastructure projects, including road construction, over the years. Now projects for constructing new roads shall not be welcomed. Road maintenance shall get highest priority."

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