Six-month budget execution 25pc

The rate of the national budget implementation in the first six months of the current fiscal year, 2021–22, was 25 per cent of the target.

Some Tk 1,49,816 crore was spent between July and December 2021, officials said on Monday, quoting  an update titled Budget and Accounts at a Glance.

The government has set the target of spending Tk 6,03,681 crore from July 2021 to June 2022.  

The FY22 first six-month execution rate was 2 per cent lower than the rate of the implementation in the corresponding period of the previous 2020–21 fiscal year, badly affected by the Covid pandemic, added the officials.

Former caretaker government adviser Mirza Azizul Islam on Monday blamed the lack of capacity and accountability of the government officials for the declining trend in the budget implementation.

The perks and packages of the government officials have been enhanced by around 50 per cent with the implementation of the latest pay scale in 2016-17, he mentioned.

But, he observed, the service delivery has not been improved.

Azizul Islam, who looked after both the finance and planning ministries in 2007–08, said that the slow implementation of the development budget was disappointing.

Besides, the development spending in the first six months of 2021–22 was only 14 per cent against 17 per cent in the same period of the preceding fiscal year, according to the update.

The number of revised projects increased to 326 in FY22, about 24.1 per cent of the investment projects, from 285 in FY21, according to a report released by local think-tank Centre for Policy Dialogue in June.

According to officials, the rate of budget spending, however, becomes very high in the latter part of the fiscal year, especially in the last quarter.

Former cabinet secretary Ali Imam Majumder said that the last-quarter spending frenzy failed to ensure quality development work and a proper use of the public fund.

Such sort of spending causes wastage and corruption, he observed.

In 2015, former finance minister AMA Muhith in a meeting with the Local Consultative Group, a platform of the development partners working in Bangladesh, said that misuse and corruption ate up 2–3 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product.

In September 2021, the Finance Division in a directive observed that the lack of proper planning by ministries and divisions was causing sluggish spending initially and a spending spree in the latter part of financial years.

This has been causing financial indiscipline and wastage of funds for years, noted the directive.

According to officials, the Finance Division is forced to borrow money from the market at high interest rates when the demand for money from ministries and divisions skyrockets in the last quarter of a fiscal year.