Pick assignments cautiously to save lots of fund for coronavirus jab

November 25, 2020
Primary Minister Sheikh Hasina has directed ministries to attempt new projects cautiously in order to avoid unnecessary consumer expenditure as the federal government will have to spend a considerable amount cash to procure Covid-19 vaccines to immunise the complete nation, officials said.

She ordered to drop assignments that aren't deemed necessary under current situations.

The directive for the range ministries came at a virtual meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) yesterday.

In June, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal set aside yet another Tk 10,000 crore for medical sector to meet up emergency expenditures amid the pandemic.

The country may need more funds to strengthen the weak overall health sector, buy safety equipment and Covid-19 vaccines.

According to an estimate of the finance ministry, Bangladesh may need between $1.65 billion and $2 billion to vaccinate the country of 165 million.

The finance ministry is asking for a lot more than $1.5 billion from the development companions to procure and distribute the vaccines.

Initially, the government is looking to buy three crore dosages of vaccines at $5 apiece. The financing ministry has up to now produced Tk 735 crore for medical ministry, a origin in the financing ministry said.

In July, the federal government had decided to put a hold on the implementation of low-priority development jobs to free up funds for the productive sectors amid widening earnings shortfalls.

The finance ministry has softened the stance on the disbursement of funds from the ADP for the low-priority projects bowing right down to pressures from the line ministries and also due to improvements in earnings collection.

The prime minister also directed the ministries to get ready a set of contractors, highlighting kinds which implement projects on time and the ones that don't meet up with the deadlines, said Planning Secretary Md Asadul Islam, while briefing the reporters after the Ecnec meeting. 

The directive is targeted at avoiding some contractors from getting way too many work orders, allowing new firms to win work orders and ensuring timely implementation.

As contractors cannot complete projects promptly, it compels the federal government to increase deadlines and boost the cost of assignments. In Bangladesh, most of the jobs are revised a lot more than twice, delaying the implementation and triggering cost-overruns.

The meeting discussed that some contractors get more work orders. As a result, they can not finish the works according to the deadline, explained a source who was simply within the meeting.

The provision of a foreign tour of 32 officials under the "Expansion of improved varieties of grasses for the production of animal nutrition and transfer of appropriate technology" project was discussed in the meeting.

Of these, 27 officials are from the ministries that have nothing in connection with the project. The getting together with instructed to drop their labels.

Regarding the international tour, the planning secretary said the foreign tour have been allowed, but the quantity of officials has been reduced.

The Ecnec meeting approved seven projects involving Tk 10,702 crore. The government funding is normally Tk 6,749. 27 crore and the others Tk 4,242 crore will be mobilised as foreign aid.

The expansion of improved types of grasses for the creation of animal nutrition and transfer of appropriate technology project beneath the fisheries and livestock ministry will definitely cost Tk 116.6 crore. It will be implemented between April 2020 and March 2024.

The meeting also approved a project to construct more than 100 five-storied buildings in Khurushkul, Cox's Bazar, to rehabilitate 3,606 families, who have become homeless as a result of expansion of the airport and the climate change. The Khurushkul Exceptional Shelter project would expense Tk 1,334 crore.

Based on the proposal of the look ministry, 119 five-storied properties will be constructed. In addition, about 23 kilometres of internal and connecting roads, 36km of drains, 26 unique pumps, 8km of drinking water lines, 14 overground normal water reservoirs, four cyclone centres, solar panels and several different infrastructures will be created.

The meeting approved the revised proposal of Payra deep seaport in Patuakhali, increasing the price by Tk 1,024 crore and extending the deadline by two years.

The expense of the seaport project rose by 23 % from the previous estimate of Tk 3,350 crore to meet up the excess expenses on area acquisition, among others.

The Ecnec approved the "Establishment of Sheikh Hasina Weaving Village Stage I (first revised)" project, raising the price to Tk 307.45 crore from Tk 253.30 crore originally.

Other approved projects are the Western Economic Corridor & Regional Enhancement Programme (WeCARE) Phase-I: Rural Connection, Market and Logistic Infrastructure Improvement Project; Identification Program for Enhancing Access to Services (Phase II); and WeCARE Period-1: Production of Jhenaidah-Jessore Highway project.     The Ecnec offers instructed to entire the Jhenaidah-Jessore Highway project by 2023 rather than 2025 as proposed by the planning ministry.

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