Ambitious ADP worth Tk 2.13trn on cards

Dhaka, Apr 28 :  The annual development programme (ADP) for 2021-22 fiscal will prioritise the transport, education, health and agriculture sectors, with a view to off-setting the adverse impacts of the coronavirus crisis that have weighed on the economy since March last year.According to the Planning Commission and Planning Ministry sources, the size of the ADP in the upcoming budget is likely to be in the range of Tk 2130 billion- just over a third of what is shaping up to be a Tk 6 trillion finance bill.
Of the total ADP, some Tk 1500 billion, or Tk 1.5 trillion, would come from local sources while the remaining Tk 630 billion is expected to come from foreign sources.
Some adjustments in the size and source may come when the National Economic Council (NEC) approves the final ADP for the next fiscal.
The number of projects to be included in the ADP for 2021-22 is around 1900, including 1480 investment projects.
For the 2020-21 fiscal, which expires on June 30, the government is working with an ADP of Tk 2051.45 billion, giving the highest priority to the transport sector.
Of the original ADP, Tk 1346.43 billion was slated to come from local sources while Tk 705.02 billion from the foreign sources.
The number of projects in the ADP was 1584 to start with, including 1456 investment projects, 127 technical assistant projects, and one project from the Japan Debt Cancellation Fund (JDCF). Besides, there were 89 projects of the autonomous bodies and corporations.
But the National Economic Council (NEC) in March approved a revised ADP of Tk 1976.43 billion, downsizing it by some Tk 75 billion..
The entire reduction was down to a cut in the foreign funding, which came down to Tk 630 billion from Tk 705 billion.
The NEC also approved Tk 116.28 billion against 101 projects of the autonomous bodies and corporations.
According to the Planning Ministry sources the NEC might approve the ADP for the next fiscal by the second week of next month.
A senior official of the Ministry admitted that there would be some difficulties in implementing the next ADP due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that struck the country with its second wave since March.
He said physical works on various development projects have slowed down due to the COVID-19 onslaught.
He mentioned that the paperwork of a project can be done from home or office but not the physical one. “The ongoing projects will be greatly affected if this situation continues.”
The official said that internal resource mobilisation will be another problem as most business activities are greatly affected by the pandemic since last year.
“If the revenue collection doesn’t go on in full swing, it’ll create obstacles towards project implementation,” he said.
Without proper collection from resources, he said, it would be difficult to allocate money to old and new projects.
Meanwhile, from last year the government has divided its ongoing development projects into three prioritised categories (high, medium and low) for monitoring and budget allocation.
“The government has made the list aiming to better monitor the ongoing projects under the ADP,” the Planning Ministry official said.
In the past, the government used to give importance to all the projects on its plate equally, and there were some mega projects, too.
“We’ll allocate for the high priority projects first — like health and agriculture sector. These sectors will get the highest attention,” he said.
On the other hand, to tackle the coronavirus crisis, the government is working with a four-pronged strategy.
These are—increasing public expenditure giving priority to employment generation, formulating stimulus package for reviving economic activities, helping workers to keep their jobs, and maintaining competitiveness among the entrepreneurs.
The government is also looking to expand social safety net programmes for fulfilling the basic needs of people living under the poverty line, looking out for non-institutionally engaged and day labourers to not fall through the cracks, and increasing the money supply in the economy without fuelling inflation.