Dhaka, Oct. 19 -- Once again has the health division positioned itself lowest in development spending as it could spend during the first quarter of the current fiscal year only 2.33 per cent from its total ADP allocation, when it ought to move fastest, said officials.

As in over a decade now, the Health Services Division (HSD) remained all the same laggard when entire Bangladesh got in health-service emergency during this Covid-19 pandemic, they observed.

Its fellow 14 other larger development budget-receiving ministries and divisions spent 8.5 per cent, on average, of their respective allocations, an FE analysis has found.

Meanwhile, the government ministries and agencies altogether implemented 8.26 per cent of the Tk 2.36 trillion Annual Development Programme (ADP) outlay in the first quarter (Q1) of the current financial year (FY2021-22).

According to the FE analysis, the HSD under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare stood out as the worst performer in implementing development works in the first quarter of the current FY2022.

This division, the sixth-largest budget-holder, had spent only Tk 3.03 billion or 2.33 per cent of its total Tk 130 billion worth of ADP so far-when analysts pointed out massive needs for upgrading the country's health system down to grassroots level to tackle exigencies like the one facing the whole of humanity.

The execution rate is just one-fourth compared to government's other big-budget agencies in the same period.

According to the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED), the health ministry got the highest-ever budgetary allocation under the ADP in FY 2022 compared to the previous years since independence. But, it couldn't perform duly in implementing the development projects which got government's highest priority.

"This is really unfortunate, when our situation is very pathetic during the pandemic. The health ministry should enrich its capacity," said a member of the Planning Commission, requesting anonymity.

The ministry had shown almost the same weakness in its project implementation over the years, he added.

Development analysts and officials said the health ministry's poor capacity, different alleged scams and corruption, and lack of transparency put Bangladesh in a vulnerable condition during this coronavirus pandemic.

They urged the government to restructure the country's health administration for enhancing its project- implementation capacity and providing better service to people.

Meanwhile, the FE analysis has found that the health ministry, on average, had failed to spend more than 83 per cent of its yearly development-budget allocations during the last 11 years between FY 2011 and FY 2021.

Besides, the ministry had fallen behind at least by 7.0 percentage points on average from the overall ADP- implantation rate during the last one decade.

The HSD had defrayed only 58 per cent of its total development outlay in the last FY2021, 24 percentage points down the average rate of 82 per cent.

Meanwhile, the Industries Ministry performed best in the Q1 FY2022, utilising Tk 8.13 billion or 20 per cent of its Tk 40.87 billion total outlay in the current ADP.

Railway Ministry attained second position in the Q1 with its 13 per cent spending, followed by Water Resources Ministry with its 10.88 per cent, the local government division with its 10 per cent, and secondary and higher secondary education division with its 9.27-per cent budget utilisation.

Government ministries and agencies altogether spent Tk 195.59 billion, or 8.26 per cent, of the total Tk 2.36- trillion ADP outlay during the July-September period of FY2022.

In the same period last FY2021, they had spent Tk 173.01 billion, 8.06 per cent of the total Tk 2.14-trillion outlay.

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