What delays infrastructure projects in Bangladesh?

Although mega projects - or public infrastructure projects (PIP) - look good on paper, quality is not always ensured while priorities and social goals of the project are often neglected.

Bangladesh ranked 105th out of 141 countries in the World Economic Forum's Infrastructure Competitiveness Report 2020. The World Bank's Doing Business Report 2020 showed that Bangladesh ranked 168th among 190 economies with a score of 45.

The major concerns and flaws pertaining to the mega projects include inadequate planning and feasibility studies, flawed coordination at the field level, lack of budgetary allocation for maintenance of the project, delays (and heightened cost from delays); and more.

Subsequently, there is lack of proper preservation and supervision of infrastructures and absence of skilled human resources, resulting in lack of long term service agreements with foreign contractors.

In a recent policy discussion at a programme regarding proper implementation of PIPs, experts in the field pointed out the flaws that impede infrastructure development in the country and ways to amend those shortcomings. The programme was based on the ongoing study by Dr Mustafizur Rahman and organised by Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) in collaboration with The Asia Foundation.

The Business Standard spoke to Dr Mustafizur Rahman, Dr. M. Masrur Reaz, Dr. Md. Shamsul Hoque and Mohammad Mejbahuddin for their insights on the topic of public infrastructure projects and how Bangladesh can implement projects effectively on time.