Four ministries, divisions spend less than 1% in 4 months
Although four months have already passed in the current fiscal year, four out of 56 ministries and divisions are yet to spend 1 per cent of the allocations they received under the Annual Development Programme (ADP).
The four ministries and divisions are industries, public administration and foreign ministries and the Internal Resources Division (IRD), said the progress report of the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) of the planning ministry.
Of them, the foreign ministry has not spent a single penny. The industries ministry spent 0.29 per cent of the allocation, the public administration ministry expended 0.42 per cent and the IRD used 0.43 per cent.
Among the 15 ministries and divisions that have received the highest allocation, the Bridges Division implemented 37 per cent of the development budget. The shipping ministry was the worst performer, spending only 4.54 per cent, according to the IMED report.
The cabinet division topped the list of the spenders among the 56 ministries and divisions as it used 55 per cent of the budget. The Bridges Division came second.
Since the beginning of the current fiscal year in July, the implementation of the projects with an import component that has been delayed due to the government's initiative to save foreign currencies, an IMED official said.
Amid falling reserves because of the escalated import payments, the government has put the execution of the less important projects on hold and tightened imports.
Talking to The Daily Star, Planning Secretary Md Mamun-Al-Rashid yesterday said, "The lower progress does not always mean that the ministries or divisions are not working at all. Sometimes, we can see the procedural delay."
If a ministry or division takes up a new project, it takes time to make payments through bills, he said.
Sometimes, the physical progress is the real progress of the project, but the implementation is shown to be low amid the non-disbursement of funds. There are a few such projects as well, said an official of the IMED.
The planning ministry is expected to hold a review with ministries and divisions in December to know the reasons for the lower ADP implementation.
"We will draw the attention of those agencies to speed up the project implementation. We will look into the facts as to why the projects are being delayed. We are working on it," Rashid added.
Although the country's development spending in July-October was the lowest in seven years, the rate of foreign aid spending surged 35 per cent during the period.
Between July and October, the government managed to spend Tk 13,277 crore from foreign aid. It was Tk 9,859 crore during the four-month period in the last fiscal year.
The planning secretary credited the good performance of the ministries and divisions for the higher foreign aid use.
"Our agencies are playing a good role in implementing foreign-funded projects," he said.
Overall, ADP spending stood at Tk 32,358 crore in July-October, accounting for 12.64 per cent of the total allocation of Tk 256,003 crore for 2022-23. This was the lowest since the same four-month period of 2015-16.
Rashid acknowledged the slow progress.
"The coronavirus situation has improved a lot. So, we are trying to find out why the ADP is not picking up. We will take necessary steps," he said.
The government is implementing 1,496 projects under the ADP in the current fiscal year.