Eyeing the upcoming national election, the next fiscal year is set to witness sharpest rise in the development spending with highest allocation for communication sector owing to finance the Padma Bridge—the country’s largest ever infrastructure project.
For the next fiscal year beginning from July, the total development outlay would be fixed at around Tk740bn, an increase of over 34% from the outgoing fiscal year.
The National Economic Council is scheduled to consider and approve the Annual Development Programme (ADP) on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Of the total expenditure, the government will spend Tk413bn from its own coffer and the remaining from external sources.
“Ahead of the general election due in December-January next, most of the party lawmakers and ministers placed their demands for development of their respective constituencies, resulting in increase in the ADP,” said a senior official of the planning ministry.
The development expenditure with specific allocation for ‘influencing the election’ was initially approved by the prime minister in the second week of May, he said.
Sources in the finance ministry said the development fund for the members of parliament and introduction of the monthly payment order (MPO) for school and colleges of the lawmakers’ constituencies have also been allocated.
“A total of Tk40bn to Tk50bn will be allocated for election purpose in the next fiscal year’s development budget,” said an official.
For the “one house and one farm” project designed for local MPs under the rural development and rural enterprise project, the allocation would be Tk65bn, up Tk3.5bn from the allocation of the outgoing fiscal year, planning commission sources said.
In the upcoming budget, the communication sector would see the highest allocation of around Tk147bn to fund projects like Padma Bridge construction, Bangladesh Railway development, and repairing roads and highways. Of the fund, Tk50bn would be spent to build the Padma Bridge.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith at a recent pre-budget meeting said non new road construction project would be taken in the next fiscal year budget because of allocation for the Padma Bridge.
At the end of the present government tenure, he said new development projects would not also be taken for the next fiscal year.
The development projects of the state owned autonomous bodies like Petrobangla, RAJUK, BIWTC, National Housing Authority – which are running by their own funds – would be included in the development projects for the first time. Total size of such allocation would be Tk80bn.
Development expenditure for the entities had not been included in the ADP earlier. Total allocation for construction of Padma Bridge would be Tk68.5bn.
Of the fund, Tk52.5bn would be provided from local resources and the rest from external sources, including Indian grant under one billion dollar credit line.
A planning ministry official said initial size of the ADP was set at Tk643bn, but the figure is going up owing to the extra demand from different ministers for rural roads, bridges, culverts and electricity lines ahead of the next general election.
The upcoming budget to be unveiled on June 6 is poised to raise outlays on transport sector by 22%, power by about 14% and education by nearly 13%.