The Financial Express

Move to devise ways of stemming ADP leakage

Mannan meets top bureaucrats Wednesday

| Updated: August 14, 2020 09:57:48

Lankabangla and Fianancial Express Lankabangla and Fianancial Express
Illustrative photo Illustrative photo

The government is going to tighten its belt by reining in inflated costs and irregularities in development projects, officials said on Monday.

The planning minister MA Mannan will sit with all secretaries on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the Planning Commission asked all secretaries of the ministries and divisions to work out ways of checking leakages of the development funds and alleged corruption in project work, they said.

"This will be the first of its kind in Bangladesh. Since there are widespread allegations of irregularities in undertaking projects, the next meeting is likely to issue a warning to the ministries and agencies about wrongdoing," said a senior commission official.

The minister has called the meeting to alert the ministries for the implementation of the development projects properly, he added.

He will also review the performance of the ministries in implementing the projects under the Annual Development Programme (ADP) as many are missing the schedule, which result in costs and time overrun, the commission official said.

The planning minister's meeting comes following the media reports and allegations against the implementing agencies for the inflated costs in taking up their projects and misappropriation during the implementation stages.

In many cases, the project implementing agencies estimate higher costs than the real market prices in their projects and execute those ignoring quality and misappropriate public funds.

The government over the years has been investing funds through its development budget to upgrade the country's infrastructure and cut poverty.

Development analysts observed that a good portion of the public investments is not being utilised properly.

The government finalised a Tk 2.05 trillion ADP for the FY 2020-21 where a total of 1,584 ongoing development projects have been included for execution.

The allocation is 1.0 per cent higher than the original Tk 2.027 trillion ADP of the last fiscal and 4.7 per cent higher than Tk 1.93 trillion outlay in the revised ADP.

In last 10 years, the size of the ADP has swelled by 433 per cent. The figure was Tk 375 billion in FY2011.

The senior commission official said in recent years, some government agencies have increasingly been undertaking many projects with inflated costs, which should be checked properly.

Since the media reports spotlighted irregularities in executing ADP projects and the Prime Minister herself had expressed her deep concern over the issue, the planning minister would sit with all the secretaries to tackle the wastage of public funds, he told the FE.

The PM in recent ECNEC meetings instructed the commission and the line ministries to review the issues and work out ways of proper utilisation of the public funds.

She expressed her concern over the trend in revisions of the project repeatedly, the commission official added.

In addition, the government wants to maintain austerity and reduce unnecessary and less-important expenditure during these uncertain times.

The meeting will discuss the ways and means of curtailing the unnecessary expenditures, he added.

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