The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) yesterday approved a Taka 3,397.81 crore project to ensure infrastructural development at country’s three selected city corporations and one Pourashava alongside enhancing skills of their administration and improving the living standards of people.
The approval came from a meeting of the ECNEC held with its chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. The Premier joined the meeting virtually from her official Ganobhaban residence while Ministers, State Ministers, Planning Commission members and Secretaries concerned attended the meeting from the NEC Conference Room at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister M A Mannan said that the meeting approved a total of 12 projects involving estimated cost of Taka 12,016.88 crore. “Of the total project cost, Taka 7,990.14 crore will come from the government, Taka 594.43 crore from the concerned organization’s own fund while the rest of Taka 3,432.31 crore as project assistance,”
State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam, Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned were also present at the briefing.
Revealing some of the directives from the Prime Minister in the meeting, the planning minister said the Premier has directed the Ministry of Science and Technology to expedite the process for setting up a marine aquarium in Cox’s Bazar.
Supplementing this, the member of the General Economics Division (GED) of the Planning Commission Prof Dr Kawser Ahmed informed that the Prime Minister had earlier directed the Ministry of Science and Technology to initiate process for setting up a marine aquarium there.
Following that, he said a feasibility study has been conducted while a Development Project Proposal (DPP) has already been framed. But, due to some necessity, the Ministry of Science and Technology will submit the DPP before the Planning Commission after some amendments. “The aquarium will be an attractive one and people will also learn many things from it,” Kawser added.
The planning minister said the Prime Minister has also asked the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) to complete their works in a speedy manner.
When asked about the budget recommendation of a chamber for not incorporating too many Development schemes in the fresh Annual Development Programme (ADP), Mannan said that since the Awami League government is running the country, it has duties and responsibilities to its people.
He said the government takes its own decisions based on the track record, experiences, global market situation and also knowing about the mindset of the development partners.
“The government of Sheikh Hasina is a proactive government and it wants to unleash development being proactive. We’ve given full freedom to the private sector to do their work and our main goal is to ensure sustainable development,” Mannan said adding that the budget recommendations of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) which would be deemed practical, would be considered.
Replying to another question on the latest crisis in Sri Lanka, the planning minister said that the government neither do any unnecessary work nor undertake any unnecessary project.
However, he alleged that some quarters are trying to replicate the current situation in Sri Lanka on Bangladesh which is not at all acceptable considering economic aspect and social aspect.
“Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are completely two different economies…and their fundamentals are also different. We’re keeping close eye on the remarks of the experts and researchers and we should be careful. But I think there is not any reasonable doubt to think like that (current situation in Sri Lanka).”
Answering to a question, Planning Commission member Md Mamun-Al-Rashid said that efforts are on especially from the Road Transport and Highways Division to reduce dependency on the consultants for implementing projects.
Mamun told replying another question that following a decision from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the issue of fixing rate schedule for projects is being looked after by the Finance Division. But, till now unified rate schedule is yet to be rolled out, rather individual rate schedule is in place, he added.