The Health Services Division (HSD) spent the least amount of money allocated in the revised Annual Development Programme (ADP) of the 2020-21 fiscal year, spending only 57.91% of the allocation.
Although it was somewhat successful in spending government funds, it failed to make good use of foreign loans and grants.
The HSD spent 80.93% government allocation and only 38.17% of foreign aid, according to a recent report of the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division.
The HSD is one of the 15 ministries and divisions with the highest allocation in the revised ADP, receiving the fifth highest allocation.
Md Saidur Rahman, additional secretary (Development Wing), HSD, said, "The ADP implementation of the division has been reduced mainly due to the Covid situation. But the implementation of all the projects was not bad. The average implementation has been less due to a lack of momentum in the implementation of some projects. Although there was some momentum in the construction of infrastructure, the projects of the division could not show efficiency in purchases. The pace of implementation of projects financed by development partners was also slow because many decisions are made by development partners. For this reason, implementation has been hampered."
However, although use of the revised ADP allocation was the worst in the healthcare sector, many ministries and divisions showed better efficiency in using the ADP allocation of the last fiscal year, despite a series of lockdowns imposed to contain the pandemic.
As a result, 82.21% of the revised ADP was implemented at the end of the financial year, which had been 80.39% in the previous 2019-20 fiscal year. However, in the two fiscal years before the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, in 2018-19 and 2017-18, the implementation rate of revised ADP was 94.66% and 94.11% respectively.
In the outgoing financial year, the total allocation in the revised ADP was Tk209,272 crore. Of this, the allocation of government funds was Tk134,643 crore while the allocation of foreign funds was Tk63,000 crore. Besides, allocation from corporations and autonomous agencies' own funds was Tk11,629 crore.
However, at the beginning of the financial year, the size of the ADP was Tk214,611.09 crore. Owing to a lack of implementation capacity, the size of the ADP was reduced.
In the outgoing financial year, different ministries and divisions spent 83.20% of government funds, 83.21% of foreign aid and 65.44% of the corporations and autonomous agencies' own funds.
According to sources concerned, more than 90% of ADP used to be implemented in the financial years before the pandemic. But due to the difficult Covid situation during the last two fiscal years, ADP implementation rate has declined. In order to continue the implementation in this pandemic situation, implementation of many mega projects was carried out through undertaking special strategies. Foreign experts and consultants of various projects were not present in the project areas. Overseas purchasing work has also been hampered by the ongoing pandemic.
However, Pradip Ranjan Chakraborty, secretary of the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division, thinks that even though the use of allocations in the outgoing fiscal year was lower than in the pre-Covid fiscal years, it was a big achievement amid the Covid situation.
He said the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) and the planning ministry had issued some instructions on implementing the projects, keeping in view the Covid situation. Besides, different ministries and divisions also took some steps of their own. They were aware of how to continue the implementation work by addressing the health risks involved. Due to this, the implementation performance of the outgoing fiscal year was better than in previous fiscal years.
Meanwhile, as in every fiscal year, in the outgoing fiscal year too almost half of the money has been spent in the final three months. For this reason, experts have raised questions regarding transparency in the spending of the money.
Ahsan H Mansoor, executive director of the Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh (PRIB), said that it is natural that the ADP implementation rate will be lower now than before due to the Covid situation, because many foreigners could not come to the country. Moreover, the type of lockdown that is being imposed in the country is not doing any good. The problem is getting longer. In this situation, the government has to take special initiatives to bring foreigners involved in the project to the country. ADP implementation jumped in the last quarter of the fiscal year. If a huge amount of money is spent in a short time, there is a chance of corruption.
Commenting on the poor performance of the health service division in ADP implementation, he said, "The health service division is implementing ADP as before. On the one hand, they do not have the capacity, and on the other hand, there has been corruption. For the sake of the development of the health sector and the speedy implementation of projects in this sector, the government should pay special attention to the sector."
Ministries and divisions that have implemented 60% or more of ADP in the outgoing fiscal year include the Local Government Division, Road Transport and Highways Division, Power Division, Railway Ministry, Science and Technology Ministry, Primary and Mass Education Ministry, Directorate Of Secondary & Higher Education, Water Resources Ministry, Bridges Division, Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry, Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, Agriculture Ministry, and Fisheries and Animal Resources Ministry.
On the other hand, 50% or less of ADP allocation has been implemented by the Ministry of Food, Ministry of Law and Justice, Ministry of Information, Internal Resources Division, Statistics and Information Management Division, Cabinet Division and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.