ISLAMABAD - The National Economic Council (NEC) Thursday approved Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), Annual Plan for financial year 2014-2015 and also Pakistan Vision 2015.
The meeting of highest body on economic affairs was held with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Chair. Sources in finance ministry informed that centre has taken provincial governments onboard on the main contours of the budget, which would be announced on June 3 2014.
The meeting was informed that federal government is likely to increase the salaries and pensions by 10-12 percent in the budget. However, the federal cabinet would take final decision in this regard prior to budget speech.
The NEC approved Rs1.31 trillion (Rs 1,310 billion) PSDP for upcoming fiscal year. The break-up shows that federal PSDP would be Rs525 billion, while provinces collective share in the development programme would be Rs650 billion. Wapda, Pepco and NTDC would invest Rs135 billion for their resources, which is also part of national development programme.
The NEC also approved Annual Plan 2014-2015. The government has set GDP growth target at 5.1 percent, inflation rate at 8 percent, investment to GDP ratio would be enhanced to 15.7 percent from current level of 14 percent and national savings are expected to improve from 12.8 percent of GDP in 2013-14 to 14.2 percent in 2014-15. The government has set exports target at $27 billion and imports at $44.2 billion for the next fiscal year.
The NEC also approved allocations for Diamer-Bhasha Dam, Karachi Coastal Power Project, Dasu Hydropower project, Neelum Jehlum hydropower project, Chashma NPP, Jamshoro power project, Tarbella Extension IV project, Nandipur power project, Chichon-ki-Malyan Power project, Gomal Zam project, Kurram Tangi Dam and Golan Gol hydropower project.
Citing the significant allocations for the power projects, the prime minister commented that it showed the seriousness and commitment of his government towards alleviating the power scarcity.
He told the meeting that they have released Rs37 billion for Diamer-Bhasha dam in one calendar year to expedite the project.
Infrastructure projects including Lahore-Karachi Motorway, Hasanabdal-Havelian-Mansehra Road project, Peshawar Northern Bypass, Raikot-Islamabad project, Gwadar Airport, Gwadar Free Economic Zone and construction of Jetty and infrastructure development at Gaddani Power Park also received approval of the NEC. Feasibility study for construction of Havelian-Raikot railway line was also okayed. PM told that Rs53.5 billion is the land acquisition cost of the Lahore-Karachi Motorway, of which 25.5 billion have already been released.
The Economic Council also approved Pakistan Vision 2025. The prime minister said that this vision is their development roadmap and Pakistan will witness fast development as this vision would ensure best usage of resources.
While briefing the NEC, Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform, Ahsan Iqbal, outlined the seven pillars of Vision 2025: putting People First; Developing Human and Social Capital; achieving Sustained, Indigenous and Inclusive Growth; Governance, Institutional Reform & Modernization of the Public Sector; Energy, Water & Food Security; Private Sector-Led Growth and Entrepreneurship; Developing a Competitive Knowledge Economy through Value Addition; and Modernization of Transportation Infrastructure & Greater Regional Connectivity.
The NEC allowed the Planning Commission to publish the details of the Summary in the form of a document titled "Pakistan Vision 2025" for public information and directed ministries/provinces/special areas and public sector agencies to make concerted efforts in coordination with Ministry of Planning, Development & Reform to effectively implement the proposed vision. Moreover, Planning Commission was authorised for regular monitoring of progress to translate the Vision into reality through a Performance Delivery Unit against key performance indicators (KPIs) and it approved the framework for eleventh five year plan within the perspective of Vision 2025.
Balochistan CM also raised the issue of funding of transmission lines for far flung areas, the issue of power shortages in Balochistan and water supply scheme for Gawadar. The PM said that nature has endowed Balochistan with vast resources of solar energy and “we need to tap this energy”. He directed to prepare feasibility for installing solar power panels in Balochistan.
While discussing the development projects in Balochistan, CM Balochistan pointed out the delay and corruption in the Quetta water supply scheme. He told that Rs10 billion have been spent but on ground there is no development. The prime minister directed to hold inquiry into the matter and fix the responsibility. He also asked Balochistan CM Dr Abdul Malik to monitor the projects himself.
NEC also approved construction of a cancer hospital in Islamabad. PM directed to prepare plan for constructing a cancer hospital in every provincial headquarter as well as in Gilgit-Baltistan, AJK and Fata. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Senior Minister Sirajul Haq raised the matter of delay in completion of Lowari Tunnel project due to paucity of funds. PM assured to look into the matter and directed to specify the required funds for completion of the project.
He said he will personally visit the project along with the governor and chief minister to see the on-ground situation. PM said that none of the developmental projects would be ignored. He also warned against delays in the projects.
Addressing a query of KPK Governor Sardar Mehtab Abbasi regarding development funds for Fata, the PM said that Fata need special attention in the development strategy and the development funds for the region would be rationalised.
Besides others, the meeting was attended by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Industries and Production Minister Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, chief ministers Shahbaz Sharif, Qaim Ali Shah, Pervez Khattak and Dr Abdul Malik, Advisor to CM Sindh on Finance Syed Murad Ali Shah and Balochistan Minister Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal.