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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Of our lethargic projects… of money wastage

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Infrastructure development is one of the major preconditions of economic growth. Sustainable economic growth of a country depends heavily on its sustainable infrastructure development. But Bangladesh lags behind many other developing countries in this respect.

Procrastination in implementing projects in contrast to the investment made in various development projects has become a major headache in this country. In terms of infrastructure development, Bangladesh has most often lagged behind its other South Asian neighbors -- Sri Lanka, India, Bhutan, Nepal, and even Pakistan.

We, through this column, have expressed our satisfaction many times over the advancement Bangladesh has, of late, made in economic sector.

At the same time, we also reminded the government of the fact that this progress could have been multiplied and expedited had it maintained the correlative factors like political stability, proper policy implementation, transparency and accountability in government expenditure, equitable distribution of income and so on.

The foremost reason of Bangladesh's lagging behind in infrastructure sector is that development projects in the country are not completed in time. We have to observe that the implementation of Annual Development Program (ADP) is too little against the target in the first half or first three quarters of every fiscal year (FY). And, there is seen a haste to spend the allocation in the last few months of the FY; thus it cannot be utilized fully.

It also leads to widespread corruption and fund embezzlement. Besides, the government has to revise the ADP reducing the allocation, although the development budget is passed with great enthusiasm every year. And since the projects are not completed in time, the size of expenditure in these projects also sees an increase every year and the hard-earned money of the common people is wasted.

It is therefore imperative to ensure the timely implementation of development projects. All the government bodies and persons concerned must remain alert and work diligently and sincerely at every stage of a project implementation. The Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) of the government has to play a crucial role in this respect.

The division should be strengthened through appointing highly skilled and professional manpower. Attention needs not only on implementation of a project but also on a proper feasibility study and evaluation of the project's merit.

For the attainment of successful completion of the ongoing development projects, big and small alongside, and thereby the desired economic development of the country, the government must try to curb corruption, ease bureaucratic tangles and ensure proper monitoring over the projects.

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