The country's economic indicators appear significantly low after the first six months of the current fiscal. The mismanagement of ministries and departments further affirms the downslide. Prothom Alo on Saturday reported that 10 ministries and departments could not spend even 10 per cent of their allocations. Failing to spend even one-tenth of the ADP's allocation means a revised Annual Development Programme (ADP) will reduce allocations for these ministries. The funds have to be refunded as these could not be spent which means people's tax money will not be spent by the ministries for the benefit of the people and they will not get due service.
On one hand, there is a slowdown in revenue collection while, on the other hand the government’s revenue expenditure or cost of running the administration is increasing. Although the costs of the ministries and subordinate bureaucratic departments increase, their projects are not implemented in time. The practice of returning funds for failed projects has become a norm over the years.
This year, the ADP allocated Tk 109 billion for 127 projects of these ministries and departments. Only Tk 6 billion has been spent from these allocations so far in the past six months. Even the overall implementation rate of the ADP is the lowest in the past four years. To avoid impediments in spending the money for any project, the obligation to seek permission from the finance ministry was abolished. Yet neither the administration nor the people benefitted from this.
It is obviously inefficient not to spend the project money after the beginning of the financial year. The files will remain tied in red tape and no decision will be made on time. And then they will say, the money could not be spent due to procedural complexities. This money is for the people, but its benefits cannot reach the people. Those who are responsible are not suffering the consequence. It is the people who have to suffer.
Sometimes the projects are completed in the eleventh hour at the year end after wasting time. The contractors and suppliers then completed the work in a rush or sometimes take the bill leaving the work incomplete. The quality of work cannot be ensured. It is certainly a means of corruption to provide such opportunity to contractors and traders.
At present, the number of high-ranking government officials is big and the expenditure for them is higher than ever. They must be accountable for their work. The disadvantages of this mismanagement are multidimensional. Allocation is being made to the projects that are not being implemented. Again, because of those allocations, allocation in education, health and industrial sectors is reduced. There is no opportunity to use the funds of unfinished projects for deficit sectors. As a result, people’s fundamental rights and their economic capacities fall at stake. They are not served as they were promised. However, the government tries to flaunt the allocations in various sectors during budget preparation.
It is necessary to pinpoint why the ministries and departments could not implement the ADP. The ministries and departments need to find ways to address the issue as well. There is no substitute for ensuring holistic and balanced development.