Where is the pivotal tool in ADP implementation?  

Marksman     | Published: June 26, 2018 22:18:56 | Updated: June 27, 2018 22:14:39


ADP implementation patterns over the years in our country have had almost similar contours. Resolute words to hit the ground running without a  matching  steady start; gathering pace towards end of first quarter and, a  momentum  built  into  the   second and third quarters. Then   gaps  between the physical and financial targets widen followed by  hectic Turkish dance to bridge them at the fag-end of  the outgoing  fiscal!

Perfect sequences of a developmental tragicomedy enacted year-on-year basis, an anachronism   especially  when the GDP growth rate  has been consistently rising! Do we still have to    carry the  baggage of being a miracle? 

Take for instance   the ADP performance during all but  the out-going 2017-18 fiscal. Ministries and divisions   faced the daunting  task  of   spending  about one-third of  the development budget in June  alone! According to the Implementation  Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED), in the last  11 months the government  spent TK 98,978 crore  against the revised  full-year allocation of TK157,594 crore for the ADP. What this means is, as against monthly  average  expenditure  of TK 8,998, they  have    to now   spend (albeit  theoretically!) TK 58,616 crore in one  fleeting month of June.

A planning ministry official observes that the task of literally moving a boulder  up the steep mountain   feels  somewhat easier. He highlights   that the physical work of many projects  is going on, 'but payments are made through cheques in the last month of the fiscal year. In other words, the spending rate  will go up on final count; the question is how  up?

It fosters all kinds of arguments  that  the load pressure on the ministries and divisions  in the second  half, actually the last quarter of the fiscal  causes compromise on quality of projects, let alone inducing  cost and time over-runs on  composite projects. This actually explains the increasing  numbers of carry-over projects  and jettisoning   some of  them almost every year.

Against  this backdrop, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal  cited   a raft of  initiatives  taken by the  government .It has  formed  a task force  for the fast-track projects; a special committee  for the foreign-aided projects; and  ensured the stay of project directors(PDs) on  project sites and regular disbursement of funds.

But what  the list  of   steps misses out on is the pivot  of the implementation machinery viz.   the pool of the PDs which the prime minister had  directed   as far back as 2015 to be created.

The experts laid emphasis on the creation of a specialised  team or cadre  for project management and their  time-bound quality implementation.To this end, the government must  eschew the practice  of  appointing the PDs from general cadre. There is no second opinion on the issue of inefficiency and inexperience of the PDs  contributing to poor  implementation  undercutting   vital development agendas.

Particularly in handling mega projects which are to be seen aplenty, there is  a severe dearth of management  efficiency and skill, to say nothing about professional commitment. 

Finally, we  should  explore and try to plug into  the  asset  of  advanced  human resource that the intellectual  cream of  Bengali Diaspora  represents  and services overseas markets demand. Properly incentivised, they can come over for a specified time period for the honour of serving their homeland.

Generally, we need to adopt a policy of rewarding good work and punishing  bad, unprofessional performance .                           

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