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Autonomous bodies in for the first time in 30 years

  • Published at 06:00 am May 29th, 2013
Autonomous bodies in for the first time in 30 years

The National Economic Council (NEC) yesterday agreed to a Tk739.84bn Annual Development Programme (ADP) for the upcoming fiscal year, a 41% rise from the revised allocation of the outgoing fiscal.

The rise in the ADP, which concentrates on the communication, energy, power and mineral resources sectors, was attributed to the inclusion of programmes of autonomous bodies for the first time in the last 30 years. Incorporation of autonomous bodies in the ADP was last practiced in the 1980s.

A planning ministry official, preferring to remain unnamed, provided reasons for the inclusion by saying since the bodies spend funds for development work, they should be included in the government’s development budget.

The transport sector received the highest allocation, Tk153.74bn or 23.34% of the total ADP. Of individual projects, Padma Bridge’s construction received the highest allocation, Tk68.52bn. 

The revised ADP for 2012-13FY was worth Tk523.66bn, and only consideried projects of the Planning Commission. The allocation for Planning Commission projects in the 2013-14FY is Tk658.7bn.

Of the amount, 62.7% will be provided from the government’s own funds and the remaining Tk245.63bn will come from external assistance in the form of project aid.

Government approval of the allocations was received in a NEC meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. She reportedly instructed the various ministries and departments to outline primary work from now on so that work may be started soon.

Hasina also pointed out the allocations were enough for the upcoming fiscal and no more funds would be needed for the development projects. “I hope that good results will come if the amount is utilised properly.”

Planning minister AK Khandker told reporters after the NEC meeting that they included the development projects by autonomous bodies in the allocations for the next fiscal year, but the rate of implementation would not be included in the main ADP.

The government also hopes development partners will come forward with the funding of the Padma Bridge’s construction, the minister said, adding that the ADP will not see a rise next year on political grounds.

“We will take all measures to implement foreign fund projects, but main problem faced by the implementation of projects is leasing land and procurement funds.”

Planning ministry’s programming division chief, Mohammad Nuruzzaman, said Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) will monitor development projects of the autonomous bodies.

The power sector will receive second highest allocation, Tk90.53bn or 13.74% of the total outlay; education and religion sector follows suit with Tk87.66bn, and the rural development and rural institutions sector gets Tk66.22bn.

Besides, the infrastructure planning, water supply and housing sector will receive Tk54.54bn; health, nutrition, population and family welfare sector Tk42.4bn, and the agriculture sector Tk37.21bn.

Planning Commission officials said only 50 projects of the total 1,176 have been newly approved, 996 have been carried over from the previous fiscal and 130 projects are of state-owned autonomous bodies.

Besides, the ADP will also include 661 non-approved projects, 346 non-approved projects expecting foreign assistance, and 44 projects to be implemented under public-private partnership (PPP). Of the 44 PPP projects, 12 have been carried over from the previous fiscal. 

Planning secretary, Shafiqul Islam Bhuiyan, pointed out PPP allocations have been included in the ADP for the last four years. “However, there is no response from the private sector and most of the projects remain in the planning phase.”