The implementation of Annual Development Programme (ADP) plays a very important role in the socio-economic development of the country. In spite of criticism, data show that Bangladesh has experienced, on an average, implementation of about 80 per cent of original ADPs and 90 per cent of revised ADPs. This has become a trend over the decades. Just for general information we may reber to the figures of last five years in the table:
The table shows that the implementation rate of original ADP allocation, on the average, was 87.6 per cent over consecutive five financial years (FY) and that of revised ADPs was 92.2 per cent. These numbers on the whole give a positive trend. Prima-facie, one can, however, say that the revised ADPs can not be fully implemented.
Every year the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) of the Ministry of Planning prepares an evaluation report depicting progress of the implementation of the ADP and places it before the National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by the Prime Minister. It placed such a report on the implementation of ADP for FY 2015-16. There are some observations in this report which deserve attention.
There are seven sectors which got the highest allocations in the revised ADP, 2015-16. These are: (i) transport (ii) electricity (iii) physical infrastructure, water supply and housing (iv) education and religion (v) rural development and rural institutions (vi) health, nutrition, population and family welfare and (vii) agriculture. These sectors got an allocation of Tk. 772.26 billion. Only two sectors ((i) electricity and (ii)) physical planning, water supply and housing) could spend the allocated money. Other five sectors together could not spend Tk. 44.68 billion. Among these five sectors, transport sector could spend 85 per cent of its allocation. The health sector could spend only 83 per cent. As far as ministries are concerned, the physical progress of ministries like ministry of railway, Bridge Division, ministry of culture, finance division, ministry of liberation war affairs and internal resource division lies between 70 per cent and 80 per cent. Financial progress of 166 projects and physical progress of 157 projects were termed 'unsatisfactory'. Moreover, it was found that 113 projects having allocation of Tk. 5.72 billion could not spend a single taka. The physical progress of 133 projects having allocation of Tk 10.15 billion was found zero.
During FY 2015-16, a total of 220 projects were set for completion. But 143 projects were declared completed. The rest 77 projects are under implementation. There are other interesting features. Forty-six projects were declared completed with financial progress of 76-89 per cent. Twenty-four projects were shown completed with the financial progress of 51-75 per cent. Six projects were declared completed using maximum 50 per cent of total project costs. Some other projects which were not set for completion were declared completed. Overall 258 projects were shown to be completed. Among these, 133 projects showed 100 per cent financial progress. The rest 125 projects failed to do so. This is the scenario of every year.
The problems are common and are found in preparation, implementation and post-implementation stages of the projects. In the preparation and approval stages, many projects are adopted without requisite feasibility study, logical framework, proper work plan and procurement plan. During implementation stage, weaknesses like temporary appointment of project directors, appointment of inexperienced project directors/deputy directors, lack of intensive monitoring and supervision by concerned ministries and agencies, taking a long time for acquisition of land , lack of annual financial and physical audit are prominent. In the post-implementation stage, required personnel are not appointed, maintenance of procured equipments is not found, budget for maintenance cost is not provided and even project completion report is not furnished by due date.
Against such a backdrop, the ADP for current FY (2016-17) has been revised. It was passed on May 12, 2016 having an outlay of Tk 1,233.4 billion for 1,278 projects. Among these, there are 990 investment projects, 126 technical assistance projects, 7 JDCF- financed projects and 155 own-financed projects of autonomous bodies. The total cost outlay also includes development assistance for local government institutions, special development assistance for Chittagong Hill Tracts and other special areas. Excluding self-financed projects of autonomous bodies, the original size of ADP for 2016-17 was Tk.1,107 billion.
In the recently-held NEC meeting, the ADP for FY 2016-17 was revised to Tk 1,042 billion excluding self-financed projects. The total number of projects stand at 1,415 (excluding self-financed) against 1,123 in the original ADP. The target for completion has been set for 312 projects in the revised ADP against 354 projects earmarked in the original ADP.
Deplorable condition prevails in the case of Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects. Every year, the ADP contains a list of such projects. For the current fiscal, a list of 32 PPP projects was in the ADP which was squeezed to 19 in the revised ADP. Herein lies a room of weakness in Bangladesh's endeavours to boost economic development of the country.
The problems and constraints in the implementation of ADPs are known to policy-makers. Understanding the problems is only a half way to solution. The rest lies in adopting proper initiatives, policies and strategies to accelerate development.
The writer is a former Secretary and an economist.