Development projects under the Annual Development Programme continue to be extended deliberately despite strong government directives to finish those on schedule.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) last week, instructed not to revise any project more than once.
Despite the government's strict instruction, the tendency of delaying project work and extending timeline does not seem to stop.
The project 'Establishment of National Institute of Laboratory Medicine and Referral Centre' will be placed in Ecnec meeting on Tuesday to extend the project tenure for the fifth time.
June 2013 was the deadline for completing the Tk138.14 crore project undertaken in June 2010. After revision, the project tenure was extended to June this year.
As the work had not been completed by the extended time, the health ministry proposed to further extend the project to June next year and increase the allocation to Tk194.32 crore.
Failure to meet the project deadline is going to cost extra Tk56.16 crore or 40.65 percent.
The local government, rural development and cooperatives ministry has sent the first revision proposal of the Multi-Purpose Disaster Shelter Centre construction project, seeking extra allocation of Tk235 crore.
Ecnec approved Tk2935 crore for the project in 2015. If the first revision of the project of Tk3170 crore is approved, its implementation cost will increase by more than eight percent.
The project undertaken in 2017 for widening some important roads in Rangpur Division will not be completed on time in December.
The project has been extended by 18 months along with its original timeframe of 27 months. Now the Roads Transport and Highways Division of the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges wants to extend the project to June 2021.
If Ecnec approves the proejct, its cost of Tk598.1 crore will be raised to Tk993.9 crore. Plus, the project tenure extension by about 67 percent will increase cost by 66 percent.
Under the National Institute of Laboratory Medicine and Referral Centre project, a 13-storey building with two basements in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar will be constructed and equipment will be purchased. The project which started in July 2010 was scheduled to be completed by June 2013.
Later, the health ministry, planning ministry and Ecnec extended project tenure several times. If the tenure is extended till June next year, the 36-month project will take 120 months to complete.
The project tenure has been extended as the purchase could not be completed on time, the health ministry said, adding that it does not have the manpower for receiving project equipment and running those.
A proposal has been made to extend the project as there is no arrangement for training people for running the machinery, the health ministry said.
The main work of the project or building construction has already been completed. This time the tenure is being extended to complete the purchase, Md Zillur Rahman, director of the project, told The Business Standard.
When asked Planning Minister MA Mannan told The Business Standard, the Prime Minister has repeatedly directed to get rid of project revision tendency.
A project can be revised once or twice, if necessary, said Mannan, adding that if more revision is required it will be placed before the prime minister.
The bad practice of delaying project work and extending the tenure has been going on for long, former Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Salehuddin Ahmed said, adding that avoiding such tendency is necessary to maintain economic discipline.