Finalisation of five-year plan once again in the doldrums

Federal government decides to revise 13th five-year plan | Federal minister for planning says opinion of provinces will also be taken on revision of much needed plan

Govt says it needs more time to finalise development programme for ongoing financial year.

ISLAMABAD   -   The finalisation of five-year plan is once again in the doldrums as the federal government has decided to revise the 13th fiveyear plan, arguing it was prepared by the caretaker regime.

“The five-year plan was made during the caretaker government, and now the incumbent government should update it,” Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal revealed while briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Planning here Wednesday.

The Standing Committee on Planning met under the chairmanship of Syed Abdul Qadir Gillani. The minister said that the opinion of the provinces will also be taken on the revision of five-year plan. “If we waste five years, we will not be able to reach anywhere,” he added.

Ahsan Iqbal said that a cut of Rs300 billion has been imposed on the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2024-25. The development budget of Rs 1400 billion has reached almost Rs 1000 billion, he maintained. “We are quite concerned, closing your eyes like a pigeon will cause problems,” the minister said. Ahsan Iqbal emphasised the importance of peace, political stability, and policy continuity for Pakistan’s prosperity. He introduced the “5E” framework as crucial for future growth of the country, focusing on Exports-led growth, E-Pakistan, Environment and Climate Change, Energy, and Equity, Ethics, and Empowerment.

The Committee raised concerns over Karachi’s industrial sector decline due to the energy crisis and identified corruption as a major cause of public sector project delays. It was recommended that priority be given to completing ongoing projects rather than reallocating funds to new projects, to avoid cost escalations and ensure timely completion. Regional disparities in South Punjab’s development were also discussed. Meanwhile, while briefing the committee, Secretary Planning Development and Special Initiatives informed that so far Rs 300 billion cut has been imposed on the PSDP of the current financial year. Prior to the approval of the budget 2024-25 by parliament, a cut of Rs250 billion was imposed on the PSDP, while another Rs50 billion cut was imposed last night, he added.

However, he said that it is not yet decided which scheme to close or to impose the cut on all schemes equally. The secretary also acknowledged that the PSDP2024-25 has not yet been finalized. “We need more time to finalize the development programme for the ongoing financial year,” secretary planning said.

The secretary elucidated that while the ministry is responsible for planning and coordination, project implementation falls under the purview of other ministries. However, the ministry is responsible for monitoring and evaluation of these projects. In a bid to enhance equitable national development, Syed Abdul Qadir Gillani emphasized the need for transparency in Public Sector Development Projects (PSDP). He directed that the Committee be kept informed of any changes in PSDP and highlighted the importance of transparent provincial distribution of development projects for equitable resource allocation. The chairman also reiterated the Committee’s commitment to effectively oversee the Ministry for the public’s benefit. The Committee was briefed on the status of the Pakistan Public Works Department (PWD), currently undergoing dissolution. It was decided that PWD representatives would be called to provide updates on their existing projects.