NEC likely to meet in first week of June to approve development outlay, growth target

Federal govt has yet not constituted National Economic Council

ISLAMABAD    -   To approve the national development outlay and GDP growth target for the next fiscal year 2024-25, the government is likely to convene the meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) during the first week of June, it was learnt reliably here.

“We have proposed to hold NEC meeting on June 3, 2024, but the date has not yet been finalised,” official source told The Nation here Thursday. Notably, the federal government has yet not constituted the National Economic Council. Article 156 of the constitution calls for the constitution of National Economic Council. The President shall constitute a National Economic Council consisting of the Prime Minister, who shall be its chairman, and such other members as the President may determine. Provided that the President shall nominate one member from each province on the recommendation of the government of that province, said Article 156(1).

“The NEC shall review the overall economic condition of the country and shall, for advising the federal government and the provincial governments, formulate plans in respect of financial, commercial, social and economic policies; and in formulating such plans, it shall, amongst other factors, ensure balanced development and regional equity,” Article 156(2) of the Constitution states. According to the Constitution, the NEC meetings shall be summoned by the chairman or on a requisition made by one-half of the members of the council. The NEC is required to meet at least twice a year and the quorum for a meeting of the council shall be onehalf of its total membership. The NEC meeting will approve the country’s national development outlay which includes the Federal PSDP, Provincial ADPs, and will finalize the GDP growth target for the next fiscal year.

The 13th Five Years Plan will also be submitted to the NEC for approval. It is worth mentioning here that the country was without Five Years Plan since 2018, as three previous governments of PML (N), PTI and PDM coalition government had failed to finalize it. The caretaker government had constituted 23 expert groups, consisting of over 500 experts, on key economic issues for preparing the 13th Five Year Plan including energy, macroeconomic framework, balance of Payment, Public Sector Development Program (PSDP), food and agriculture, population, poverty, governance reforms, culture etc. These experts’ groups have submitted their recommendations/ reports to the Planning Ministry.

It is also worth noting that the Finance Division has yet to provide Indicative Budget Ceiling (IBC) to planning ministry for the Public Sector Development Programme 2024-25. The meetings of the priorities committees, to shortlist important project for the PSDP, have already been skipped. The meeting of the Annual Plan Coordination Committee (APCC) has been proposed for next week, the source said. “We have proposed to hold the meeting on 27th or 28th May, however no date has been finalized yet,” the source added.

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