Tk 3,210cr added for Padma bridge project

padmaADP allocation gets a hike
In a rare move, the government yesterday added Tk 3,210 crore to the revised ADP of the current fiscal year to make it Tk 63,210 crore, allocating the total additional amount for the Padma bridge project.

The decision was made at a joint meeting of the finance and planning ministries on the revised Annual Development Programme (ADP), said meeting sources. Finance Minister AMA Muhith was in the chair.

The allocation for the revised ADP was never hiked in the past following approval by the National Economic Council (NEC).

The NEC in a meeting on April 3 gave the nod to the Tk 60,000 crore revised ADP though the planning ministry recommended Tk 55,000 crore in line with the allocation made by the Finance Division considering revenue shortfall and low implementation of projects.

The meeting had decided that the additional Tk 5,000 crore will be allocated to ministries following consultations between the planning ministry and the finance minister.

A planning ministry official said the revised ADP figure would be included in the minutes of the NEC meeting.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday issued a strict directive that the additional Tk 3,210 crore allocated for the Padma bridge project cannot be spent in any other area even if it remains unused.

In the ADP of the current fiscal year (2013-14), the allocation for the Padma bridge project was Tk 6,852 crore. The planning ministry, however, kept aside Tk 2,600 crore for revised allocation. Later, the planning ministry on request from the communications ministry slashed Tk 510 crore from the allocation and diverted the fund to road projects.

Following yesterday’s decision, the revised allocation for the Padma bridge project would stand at Tk 5,310 crore.

A finance ministry official said the allocation would remain on paper only as the progress made so far in the bridge project shows that the money would not be required in this FY.

According to planning ministry statistics, in the first eight months of the current FY, Tk 362 crore or 5.28 percent of the total allocation for the project has been spent.

In the revised budget, the government’s bank borrowing has increased on paper due to more allocation. But the ministries would not be able to spend the allocated amount, mentioned the official.

The ministries, he added, might at best spend Tk 50,000 crore in the current FY, which would keep the budget deficit within the target set in the original budget.

In yesterday’s meeting, Tk 5,000 crore was allocated for ministries, of which the highest Tk 875 crore went for the Local Government Division, followed by the Railway Division Tk 475 crore, education ministry Tk 475 crore, primary and mass education ministry Tk 375 crore, Rural Development and Cooperatives Division Tk 300 crore, water resources ministry Tk 375 crore, Roads Division Tk 350 crore, Power Division Tk 262 crore, Energy Division Tk 270 crore and agriculture ministry Tk 160 crore.