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Dhaka Tribune

236 government projects saw no progress in one year

Project officials identified 11 causes behind the situation 

Update : 17 Mar 2023, 08:10 PM

The pace of implementation of various government projects for 2021-22 financial year is not satisfactory as no progress has been made in 236 projects last year. 

Meanwhile, progress made on 554 projects is disappointing and authorities concerned are embarrassed over the issue. 

Those responsible for the implementation of the projects presented various excuses for the sluggish progress, according to a review report of the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED).

However, no visible steps have been taken despite repeated requests to speed up project work, say insiders. 

Project officials have identified 11 causes behind this situation. The reasons include non-timely or late release of funds, inability to acquire land, not inviting tenders on time, non-responsiveness after calling tenders, non-availability of loans, and non-allocation or reduction of funds required for project implementation. 

Other reasons behind the slow or no progress are litigation issues regarding land use, repeated revisions of the Development Project Proposal (DPP), delay in approval of RDPP for the project and delay in agreement with the bidder along with complications put forward by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of the 236 projects that saw no progress, the authorities concerned with 94 projects could not spend any money on implementing their projects, according to the IMED report, titled “2021-22 Annual Development Program Implementation Progress Review”.

A meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC), held on May 17, 2022, prioritized maximum allocation to the transport and communication sector as well as ensuring the best utilization of government funds by preventing misuse. The Annual Development Program (ADP) of Tk246,066.9 crore for the 2022-23 fiscal year was approved in that meeting.

The report prepared in February 2023 showed that the progress of 547 projects was not satisfactory. On the other hand, the financial and physical progress of 434 projects was fairly satisfactory. However, in the case of 824 projects, the implementation is said to be satisfactory.

There were a total of 1,834 projects in the 2021-22 FY. Of these, 94 projects made zero financial progress. But the allocation in favor of these projects was Tk1,004.91 crore. These projects include Patuakhali Medical College and Hospital, a kidney hospital in Sylhet, Uttara Lake Development Project, the expansion of drainage network of Dhaka city, the establishment of an asphalt plant and road development project under Gazipur City Corporation.

In addition, Tk5 crore was spent on the construction of LC stations at Hili, Burimari and Banglabandda land ports but visibly no progress can be seen there. 

Some other projects with zero progress are the Disaster Risk Management Extension Project, upgrading the highway linking Bagerhat, Rampal and Mongla, setting up of dried fish processing industry in Cox's Bazar and the construction of Bangladesh Chancery Complex in Jeddah.

Analysts say that, if the implementations are delayed this way, the cost of the projects will continue to increase. They also felt that if these projects were less important, these should have been stopped in the beginning. Project managers must be held accountable for the situation, experts said, adding that the Planning Ministry could play an important role.

State Minister for Planning Shamsul Alam said on Thursday that they were holding meetings with project officials regularly but to no avail. 

“There has been no progress either. There is no option but to be strict in the implementation of these projects in the future,” he added.

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