Investments in the Delta plan increase, the government meets on Monday to form a fund
The government is gradually increasing investment in various projects to support the implementation of the Bangladesh Delta Centennial Plan for economic growth, environmental conservation and improved climate resilience.
Planning ministry officials say a range of institutional and policy reforms are also underway to support the implementation of the Delta Plan. A Delta Governance Council headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already been established to provide strategic direction.
There is also a proposal to set up a fund to ensure a smooth flow of investment for the Delta plan and the first board meeting will decide on this on Monday.
In the fiscal year 2018-2019, when the plan was launched, public investment in the projects of the overall development plan was only 0.66% of GDP.
In fiscal years 20 and 21, the government’s investment for this purpose was 0.90% and 0.89% of national production.
But a report by the General Economics Department (GED) shows that the government earmarked 1.13% of GDP, or Tk 34,821 crore, in its FY22 annual development program for projects under the Delta map.
Nonetheless, spending is still slightly below the government’s target of 1.30% of GDP, the GED report said.
The department under the Planning Commission suggests that the annual investment for the Delta plan should be increased to 2.5% of GDP in phases by 2025 to close the gap.
GED member Md Kawser Ahmed told The Business Standard: “In the early years of the Delta plan, the investment targets were a bit high. Even though we have not reached the goal, the investment is now gradually increasing. been taken to increase investment during the remainder of the 8th Five-Year Plan.
The GED report also recommends increasing budget allocations for ministries and departments associated with the plan, and implementing some of these projects through public-private partnership (PPP) agreements.
The first meeting of the Delta Governance Council is scheduled for today to discuss issues related to the implementation of the mega plan. Sheikh Hasina will chair the meeting.
The government approved the Delta Plan in 2018 with a view to achieving sustainable economic growth and a sustainable environment through long-term food security and sound management of water resources. It also aims to combat the effects of climate change by implementing the plan.
In the first phase of the Delta plan, 80 projects are included for implementation until 2031, which involves an estimated cost of around Tk 2,97,800 crore. These projects are linked to other projects. For example, the ADP for the current fiscal year includes 371 projects related to the Delta Plan.
A policy brief for the Bangladesh Delta Fund has already been formulated with a two-step approach.
Initially, all public, private, national and foreign investments will be taken into account in this fund and will be distributed according to the objective. This will continue if the investment objective is achieved. Otherwise, a separate fund will be created by creating a legal framework in the second step.
First international conference on the Delta Plan
The Netherlands and the GED have decided to organize a two-day international conference in Dhaka in February to increase domestic and foreign investment in the Delta Plan.
The World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (AfDB) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) have agreed to co-sponsor the conference which will highlight the strategies and priorities of the Delta Plan to investors.
The Jamuna River Economic Corridor Development Project is one of the priority projects of the Delta Plan.
The proposed project will increase the navigability of the Jamuna River in the 205 kilometer zone from Rangpur to Sirajganj. Furthermore, the area will be developed as an economic corridor through the governance and maintenance of the river.
If the project is implemented with an investment of $13.4 billion, it will add $362 billion to the country’s economy by 2044, according to the World Bank. The amount is larger than the size of Bangladesh’s GDP.
The World Bank has already agreed to invest in this project.
Another priority project of the Delta Plan is “Revitalization and Restoration of Chalan Beel”. The Dutch government has agreed to provide €50 million for the integrated development of Chalan Beel which includes water management, agriculture, forestry, environment and ecosystem, and fisheries.
In addition, the World Bank has pledged a $300 million investment in the Dhaka River Ecological Restoration Project. Under this project, water flow in rivers and canals around Dhaka city will be improved. In addition, wastewater management in the vicinity of Dhaka city will be developed.
The Delta Plan includes strategies for constructing surface water reservoirs and retaining rainwater to ensure water availability during the dry season. In addition, emphasis has been placed on dredging various rivers and canals to improve their navigability.
One of these rivers is the Bangali River. The 217 kilometer river originates from Jamuna river at Saghata upazila of Gaibandha district and joins Jamuna river again at Sirajganj through Karatoa, Baral and Phuljor and Hurra Sagor rivers.
According to the project proposal, a number of dams will be constructed on the Bangali River. This will create a large reservoir, from which water can be supplied to the districts of Gaibandha, Bogura and Sirajganj for irrigation during the dry season.
Similarly, it is planned to use the area of approximately 101 km stretching from the Teesta Dam to the Teesta-Jamuna confluence as a reservoir through excavation and construction of the necessary infrastructure.
A strategy has also been adopted to retain water at the end of the monsoon by dredging the 283 km ancient Brahmaputra river stretching from Dewanganj in Jamalpur district to Bhairab in Kishoreganj district.
The Ministry of Water Resources will implement 30 of the 80 projects included in the first phase of the Delta Plan. The Local Government Division has 34 projects, while the Ministry of Agriculture will implement five more.