Thursday 18, August 2022
BN

1,543 Govt projects: Over a third missed deadline last fiscal year

News Desk: At least 552 projects that were supposed to be finished by June this year could not meet deadlines.

They constitute 36 percent of the total 1,543 projects that got Annual Development Programme (ADP) allocation in the last fiscal year.

The number of projects that missed their deadlines in the 2021-22 fiscal year is 63 percent higher than the number (337) in the previous fiscal year, show planning ministry documents.

Having missed the deadlines, authorities have to seek time extensions and, as delays usually go hand in hand with cost increases, this will likely escalate the costs of many of the projects.

Most of the projects involve construction of roads, bridges, rail lines, while some others are technical assistance projects.

The cost overrun of development projects have become a major concern, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on several occasions giving directives to stop wastage of state resources.

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) recently said the government is making significant investments in public infrastructure projects (PIPs), but a lack of good governance in project implementation undermines efficiency.

The think tank identified weak feasibility studies, coordination failure, delays in land acquisition, and frequent changes of project directors as some of the key reasons behind the poor governance in PIP implementation.

Because of the cost escalations and deadline extensions, the majority of the projects fail to attain their goals that include the internal rate of return, financial rate of return and the economic rate of return.

The National Economic Council at a meeting in May this year directed that the 552 projects which failed to meet the deadlines be included in the ADP for 2022-23 fiscal year, and asked authorities to extend their deadlines by June 30 the last day of the 2021-22 fiscal year.

The Planning Commission in a letter last month asked all secretaries of ministries and divisions concerned to complete necessary procedures for time extension by June 30, shows a planning ministry document.

Different implementation agencies of those projects have sent proposals to the planning ministry, but deadlines of many of the projects have yet to be extended.

"We have already sent time extension proposals for the projects concerned. However, the process takes time and so deadlines are being extended gradually," said an official of roads and highways department, one of the major implementing agencies.

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