23 ADB-funded projects in limbo

Dhaka,  Sun,  28 May 2017
Published : 20 May 2017, 00:22:40 | Updated : 20 May 2017, 11:07:23
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23 ADB-funded projects in limbo

Implementation delays galore
Syful Islam


 Some 23 ongoing projects, funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), are facing various hurdles that have led to long delays in their implementation, officials said.

The issues include delay in procurement, failure to disburse and spend money in several years after their approval, lack of environmental monitoring reports, implementation delays due to delay in handing over of sites to contractors and in consultant selection.

 The ADB and the Economic Relations Division (ERD) have jointly identified the 23 projects that will come under scanner during the tripartite portfolio review meeting in Dhaka scheduled for next week.

Of the projects, seven are of energy sector, three on urban development, four on transport sector, five on public and finance, three on agriculture and natural resources, and one on education.

According to officials at the ministry of finance (MoF), until April last of the current fiscal year (FY) contracts of projects worth US$444 million were awarded to the executing agencies against the target of $1.021 billion.

During the period, the volume of fund disbursement was $618 million against the target of $771 million.       

Presently, some 51 ADB-funded projects are ongoing.

The project performance is evaluated on five criteria-- contract awards, disbursement, technical soundness, safeguards compliance, and financial management.

The ADB allocates Ordinary Capital Resources (OCR) and the Asian Development Fund (ADF) resources on the basis of project performances.

Documents show that the Gas Transmission and Development Project is facing three problems. These are non-availability of gas in Khulna city gate station, $9.0 million remaining un-contracted and $20.15 million un-disbursed despite expiry of grace period and lack of environment monitoring report.

The Natural Gas Access Improvement Project is yet to make any headway in the southwestern region despite completion of procurement, $40.41 million remaining un-contracted and $54.59 million un-disbursed even six years after the loan approval.

 In the Power System Efficiency Improvement Project, $109.3 million remained un-contracted and $153.33 million un-disbursed almost seven years after the loan approval.

The change order for piling remained pending for two years and the development project proposal for solar PV is yet to be approved.

The procurement for the Dhaka Environmentally Sustainable Water Supply Project was delayed while $174 million fund remained un-contracted and $208 million un-disbursed for 3.5 years after the project approval.

The land acquisition and resettlement for the SASEC Rail Connectivity Project are yet to be completed alongside delay in reviewing the design.

The project's $145 million remained un-contracted and $434 million un-disbursed for 2.5 years after the loan approval.

The establishment of an environmental safeguards unit in the Bangladesh Railway is yet to be completed, documents show.

 Officials said even after 1.5 years of loan approval, the government could not award contract for the Railway Rolling Stock Project.

 Documents also show that work on the Second Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Development Project is yet to start even after 1.5 years of its approval and the loan effectiveness is now delayed.

 It was found that even some grant-funded projects also could not make any headway.

The submission of well-defined capacity development plan of 'Pilot Project on Weather Index Based Crop Insurance' remained pending for long. Some $127,000 of the project remained un-contracted and $784,000 un-disbursed even 4 years after grant approval.

 When contacted, a senior MoF official said efforts are there to improve capacity in quick project implementation.

 "We will review performance of the projects identified in the next week's meeting and take steps to remove the shortcomings," he said.

      syful-islam@outlook.com
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