| Committee proposes federal PSDP at Rs800 billion including Rs70 billion as foreign aid

Committee proposes Rs585 billion development outlay for Punjab, Rs355.4 billion for Sindh, Rs300 billion for Khyber Pakhunkhawa and Rs143.5 billion for Balochistan


ISLAMABAD   -   Annual Plan Coordination Committee (APCC) on Saturday recommended national development outlay of Rs2184 billion for the next fiscal year including Rs346 billion as foreign aid.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal chaired the APCC meeting to finalise the development budget for federal as well as provincial governments for the next financial year. The APCC has proposed federal Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) at Rs800 billion including Rs70 billion as foreign aid. The Committee has also recommended provincial Annual Development Plans at Rs1383.89b including Rs276b as foreign aid for the upcoming fiscal year 2022-23.

According to the breakup of Rs800 billion federal PSDP, the APCC has proposed to allocate Rs392 billion for the ministries, Rs171 billion for corporations like National Highway Authority (NHA), WAPDA and power, Rs96 billion for the special areas including Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan and Rs91 billion for PPP (Public-Private Partnership) for the next financial year. Meanwhile, the APCC has recommended Rs1384 billion for the provincial Annual Development Plan. The committee has proposed Rs585 billion development outlay for Punjab, Rs355.4 billion for Sindh, Rs300 billion for Khyber Pakhunkhawa and Rs143.5 billion for Balochistan for the upcoming financial year.

Later, talking to the media, Ahsan Iqbal said that APCC has recommended Rs800 billion federal PSDP including Rs100 billion under Public Private Partnership to the National Economic Council (NEC) for approval. He criticized the previous govt for reducing the volume of PSDP to Rs500 billion for the outgoing fiscal year. The volume of PSDP was Rs1000 billion in 2017-18 when PML-N left the govt. It should have increased to Rs1800 to Rs2000 billion. However, the PTI govt has reduced it to Rs500b, he added.

Federal minister informed that govt has preferred to complete ongoing development projects instead of staring new projects. He said that 90 percent of the allocation of PSDP is for ongoing projects. The previous govt had included 44 percent provincial nature projects in federal PSDP on political basis. Therefore, the incumbent government would have to complete these projects otherwise already consumed funds would be wasted, he added. The previous government had neglected NHA, infrastructure, ports and shipping projects.

The minster said that government has set GDP growth target at 5 percent for the next fiscal year as against 4.8 percent of the outgoing year. He said that provisional GDP growth rate of 5.97 percent should not be compared with target of 4.8 percent as the government had changed the base year that resulted in higher growth rate in outgoing financial year. Sharing the priorities of the present government, Ahsan Iqbal said that government has given preference to water resource projects especially Diamir Bhasha Dam, high education, physical infrastructure and science and technology. He further informed that government would establish funds for innovation and e-Govt system in next fiscal year. Federal minister said that government would also give preference to railway project ML-1 and Special Economic Zones under CPEC. On the directions of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, he said that government would start PM laptop scheme for the students on the basis of merit. Meanwhile, the government would also provide laptops to the students on easy instalments for those students who do not get laptops on merit. Other new projects included establishing vocational institutes for reducing unemployment and mini stadiums for youth.

Federal minister informed that government has given special focus to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor especially focusing on Balochistan related projects. Meanwhile, it has decided to allocate Rs50 billion for erstwhile FATA, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The government has also decided to start Development Package for ten most districts of Pakistan allocating Rs10 billion from the federal government and Rs10 billion from the provincial governments. The volume of budget for the aforesaid package would be increased in next two years, he added.

Ahsan Iqbal said that government would establish Abdul Qadeer Khan University in Islamabad for promotion of science. Meanwhile, it has decided to eliminate previous government project of establishing university in Prime Minister house, as federal minister termed it fake and bogus project. He informed that government would organize national turnaround Pakistan conference on June 15.