The government is set to approve over 50 projects at the end of its tenure ahead of the parliamentary election slated to be held in January next year.
These projects are being passed in three meetings of Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC).
Roads, bridges and buildings will mainly be constructed through these projects in a bid to attract voters. In the list of these projects, there are projects in the areas of influential ministers and members of parliament (MPs).
A total of 37 projects were approved in ECNEC meetings on 29 August and 5 September.
A total of 18 projects will be placed at the ECNEC meeting today, Tuesday. If these projects are approved, a total of 55 projects will be included in the Annual Development Programme (ADP). Fresh allocation has to be made for these projects.
In the current fiscal year of 2023-24, a total of Tk 2,630 billion have been allocated for ADP. There are a total of 1309 ongoing projects. There is a list of 825 new projects without any allocation. Now projects are being approved from this list.
Non-government research organisation South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) executive director Selim Raihan, speaking to Prothom Alo, said the current fiscal year is a year of crisis. The macro economy is in various crises. The government should not spend additional money ahead of the election. Many insignificant projects are being approved.
After the ECNEC meeting on 5 September, when asked in the press conference whether projects are being passed to please people, state minister for planning Shamsul Alam said, "The political government finishes big projects to please voters ahead of the election. This happens across the world. There is no fault in it."
Projects in the areas of influential ministers, MPs
At the end of the government's tenure, projects are undertaken in the areas of ministers, MPs and secretaries.
For example, a project was passed on 29 August to establish Chandpur Medical College and Nursing College at a cost of Tk 13.71 billion. This project is in the constituency of education minister Dipu Moni. Questions have been raised over this project.
30 acres of land will be required for this project. The planning commission earlier said half of this land is inundated during the rainy season. But the project is passed counting the entire land.
A project with an estimated cost of Tk 3.17 billion was approved at the same ECNEC meeting to re-excavate Suvadda canal in Keraniganj and its development on both sides of the bank. The area falls in the constituency of state minister for energy and power Nasrul Hamid.
Sources said there was political lobbying for the passage of these projects.
Projects are being approved
A total of 18 projects are being placed at the ECNEC meeting today, Tuesday.
The projects include construction of Shuvopur bridge over Feni river, construction of Kadamrasul bridge over the Shitalakshya river and development of roads in Gazipur city corporation.
On 29 August, a total of 20 projects with an estimated cost of Tk 140 billion were approved in the ECNEC meeting.
On 5 September, a total of 17 projects with an estimated cost of Tk 129.51 billion were passed. The projects include construction of bridges, rural roads and buildings.