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18 June 2024

Business Insider Bangladesh

PM for speedy completion of foreign funded projects

BI Desk || BusinessInsider

Published: 00:38, 17 May 2024  
PM for speedy completion of foreign funded projects

Photo: Collected

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday asked the authorities concerned of all ministries and divisions to complete the foreign aided and grant projects speedily with additional efforts if required to expedite the country's development spree further.

The premier gave the directives while chairing the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting at the NEC Conference Room in the city's Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area. The NEC approved a Taka 2.65 lakh crore ADP for the next fiscal year (FY25), reports BSS.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Division Senior Secretary Satyajit Karmakar said that the Prime Minister also directed the authorities concerned to reappoint the project directors and other officials in their specialized areas after completion of their training in concerned fields.

Planning Minister Major General (retd) Abdus Salam, State Minister for Planning Md Shahiduzzaman Sarker, Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned attended the briefing.

Instead of not taking smaller projects, Satyajit said the premier advocated for taking district-based projects and thus entrusting the district-level officials for overseeing those projects.

Renewing her call for creating a pool of project directors, Sheikh Hasina emphasized again on imparting necessary training to those projects directors and officials who lack training.

In order to enhance the implementation rate of the foreign aided projects, the Prime Minister asked the concerned ministries and divisions to apprise the ECNEC in every three months about the implementation progress of their respective aided projects to infuse dynamism in the implementation pace.

The premier also directed the Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) to take necessary steps to bring those firms who conduct feasibility study under a registration process so that quality feasibility study could be conducted in different fields.

Planning Minister Abdus Salam said that the NEC meeting approved all proposals which were made in the extended meeting held on May 7.

He said since most of the projects are taken as upazila-based for which lack of coordination was seen to some extent. It was proposed in the meeting to take district-wise projects and the NEC discussed it positively.

He said that the members of parliament would be engaged in framing the district-wise participatory master plan up to five years for the districts while those would be made realistic. Even the upazila chairmen will be involved in the process, added the minister.

Salam also said that more development operations would be conducted in the areas of rural infrastructures, health, education, and communication.

He said that filtering in project selection is much strong now while no unnecessary or meaningless project is being taken.

Terming the alleviation of poverty rate at 18.7 percent in the country is a matter of achievement, he expressed his resolve that Bangladesh would become 'Sonar Bangla' as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with the united efforts of all.

State Minister for Planning Md Shahiduzzaman Sarker hoped that all concerned would supplement the government's efforts in building a 'Smart Bangladesh' as envisioned by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

He told a questioner that the Planning Commission was cautious enough this time so that no unnecessary project is undertaken in this fresh ADP. "The ADP size this time couldn't become much bigger than the outgoing fiscal year, which proved that we remained very cautious in project selection."

Replying to a question, the planning minister said the ultimate goal of the government is to ensure that no one leaves behind adding that the government is trying to minimize the 'lagging behind' term in the development process.

Planning Secretary Satyajit Karmakar said the Prime Minister has directed the Planning Commission to enforce strict monitoring so that the ADP implementation becomes better in the next fiscal year.

He said that the budget for the next fiscal year (FY25) aims to control inflation through ensuring coordination between the monetary policy and fiscal policy.

Mentioning that the proportion and percentage of aided projects remains almost same now compared to the past, Satyajit said the scope and coverage of the social safety nets would be widened further in the next fiscal year in a bid to give relief to the common people from the inflationary pressure. "It's also aligned with the philosophy of the Prime Minister which is 'inclusive development,"

Responding to another question, he said the dependency of government on foreign aided projects has not increased compared to the past in terms of percentage, but the volume or amount of such projects has increased.

Satyajit said it would be better for the government to utilize as much as foreign loans and grants by 2026 to expedite the development process as the country would be losing many of its existing facilities in 2026 due to its LDC graduation.

He said although there are some mismatches in the fresh ADP in line with the 8th Five Year Plan due to the COVID-19 impacts, Russia-Ukraine War, but the allocations against the education, health and agriculture sectors have increased this time compared to the last fiscal year.

The Planning Secretary told another questioner that the issue of changing the fiscal year is a political matter or decision.

IMED Secretary Abul Kashem Md Mohiuddin said that the Prime Minister has reminded of all secretaries of concerned ministries and divisions that they need to do more to further increase the implementation rate of development projects.

He also informed that the ADP implementation rate during the July-April period of the current fiscal year (FY24) is 49.26 percent which was 50.33 percent in the same period of the previous fiscal year (FY23).