From the beginning of the current fiscal year, the government has taken various initiatives to save costs. Development projects are also not left out of this. Implementation of projects on priority basis, stopping foreign travel and buying cars if not necessary, more cost effective in buying furniture are taken. This is reflected in the implementation of the Annual Development Program (ADP). The first month of the current financial year saw the lowest expenditure in the last four years.
In the last month of July, the total cost was 2 thousand 455 crores. Seven ministries and departments have not spent a single rupee. 155 projects did not cost anything. This information has been revealed in the updated report of the Ministry of Planning’s Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Department. ADP of Tk 2 lakh 56 thousand crore was taken in the current financial year.
In this regard, the executive director of the private research institute South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) Salim Raihan told Prothom Alo, due to the current situation, the speed of implementation of many projects has been slowed down to save costs. That’s right. But whenever the situation becomes a little favourable, attention should be paid to the quick and effective implementation of the projects. Because there is a link between the implementation of the project and the socio-economic development of the country. Employment is also involved.
Why did the government go on the path of being cost-effective? Commodity prices have been rising in international markets for months due to economic recovery after the shock of Covid and the Russia-Ukraine war. As a result, the import cost of the country increases. Again, expatriate income has also decreased in the last financial year. Government revenue continues to decline. The dollar continues to rise. There is a large deficit in the balance of transactions. For these reasons, the government adopts a policy of cost-effectiveness in all activities. Initiatives are taken to rein in development expenditure.
According to IMED sources, 96.96 percent of the total ADP allocation was spent last July. Generally, as the size of ADP increases, the cost of money increases. But last July the expenditure was lower than the July of the previous three years. 2 thousand 455 crores were spent in July. In the previous three years, the expenditure in July was Rs 2,693 crore, Rs 3,253 crore and Rs 3,950 crore respectively.
There are a total of 1,496 projects in ADP for the current financial year. 56 ministries and departments are implementing these projects. Seven of these ministries and departments did not spend money in July last year. These are Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Religion, Department of Public Security, Ministry of Lands, Department of Financial Institutions, Ministry of Youth and Sports and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. About 13 thousand crore rupees have been allocated for 155 projects of these ministries and departments this year.
According to sources in the Ministry of Planning, the government does not want to save costs or slow down the pace of all projects. Wants to slow down import-dependent projects under domestic financing. Some projects are not very important at the moment, the pace of those projects will be slow for the time being. Officials of the Ministry of Planning said that the number of projects that will be delayed for now is about half of the total projects of ADP. This number is more than 700.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Planning has advised all ministries to implement their projects by dividing them into high priority, medium priority and low priority categories (A, B and C categories). In that case, it has been asked to emphasize the implementation of projects which will be completed in the current financial year and which have foreign assistance.