Saturday, July 4, 2020

Govt is in such an inactive state that money spent on development is essentially money for corruption

PROGRESS in implementation of annual development projects is quite low at 57.37 percent in 11 months of the just concluded fiscal 2020, media report said. It is not unexpected given the unusual situation caused by lockdown and disruption of economic activities called for by the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic. Usually project mobilization takes time to gather pace in the first half of the year but Covid related setback disrupted work for most development projects rendering people jobless and funds left unutilized.  
Performance of 25 development ministries and departments so far stood far below 50 percent of last year's Tk 1.93 trillion ADP outlays for 1,358 investment projects, 116 technical assistance projects and one Japan assisted project. Even Prime Minister's Office could only spend 37.52 percent of allocation, Department of Security and Services spent 19.80 percent, Railway 24.4 percent. These are on the low side.
On the high side industries ministry has spent 79.9 percent while the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief achieved 49.9 percent spending.  Ministry of Defense 37.36 percent, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs 47.31 percent, Ministry of Land 48.61 percent, Ministry of Public Administration 28.52 percent to name a few.
Report said this year's ADP performance is 10 years low. However no matter we blame Covid-19 and such other setbacks for poor ADP performance, the truth is that the government has steadily lost its capacity and efficiency to implement projects over the last decade. Corruption, stealing of public funds, project mismanagement, capital flight and many such irregularities have overwhelmed everything for good governance and rule of law. You can hardly punish anybody or demand accountability for failing.
Now we have a practice of showing good ADP spending closer to 100 percent every year. The Awami League government is doing it as its predecessor governments did in the past to claim excellent ADP performance.
Money spent on development proves more helpful to the corrupt ones. Money allocated for taking care of nurses and doctors fighting coronavirus which are going to the wrong pockets will also go unaccounted for and those who pocket it will remain unpunished.