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Govt to approve Rs1.57tr development budget for FY20

ISLAMABAD: The government has called a meeting of the Annual Plan Coordination Committee (APCC) on May 20 to approve a developmental portfolio of about Rs1.57 trillion for next fiscal year, about 10 per cent lower than current fiscal year.

A senior government official told Dawn that the Planning Commission was working on a federal Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) of about Rs675 billion under an indicative budget ceiling conveyed by the Ministry of Finance.

The four provinces are together expected to come up with annual development programmes (ADPs) of about Rs900bn.

Officials said the federal PSDP for current year (2018-19) was originally approved at about Rs1.03tr which was later reduced to about Rs750bn. In the first nine months of the current fiscal year, the government has released about Rs564bn even though foreign financing for development schemes has amounted to Rs186bn against a target of Rs144bn.

They said the government was trying to convene the APCC meeting on May 13 but many key requirements for development budget coordination could not be completed because of overall lack of clarity on economic direction, particularly the talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Therefore, the APCC meeting has now been called on May 20.

Combined federal and provincial spending will be lower over the current year

Completion of ongoing projects particularly those under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), water sector and those nearing completion would be given top priority in the PSDP for 2019-20, they said.

Besides the finalisation of development plan for next fiscal year, the APCC would also be briefed on performance of the economy during the outgoing year that recorded the lowest growth rate in last nine years. Growing at 3.3pc rate, the GDP missed its growth target of 6.2pc by a wide margin.

The lacklustre performance was contributed by all the three major sectors of economy as none of the agriculture, industry and services sectors could meet their output targets set for the year.

Officials said the date for the meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) had not been finalised yet. The NEC is the country’s highest decision-making body on economic matters and led by the prime minister, it is comprised of four chief ministers and four federal ministers.

While presiding over a review meeting of the CPEC, Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar expressed government’s full commitment to accelerate implementation of CPEC projects and set timelines for authorities concerned for resolving all the pending issues related to the projects.

During the meeting, projects of Orange Line, Eastbay Expressway, 300MW coal-based power plant at Gwadar and Kohala Hydropower were deliberated upon and scrutinised in detail and majority of the issues were resolved instantly, an official statement said.

For remaining issues, the minister directed authorities concerned to resolve them within strict timelines and progress be reported on monthly basis.

Talking about Eastbay Expressway, the minister said that demand of local fishermen at Gwadar has been accepted and all efforts be made to ensure timely completion of this project of national importance.

He said the provision of electricity and clean drinking water to Gwadar was topmost priority and all efforts will be made to expedite the start of 300MW coal-based power plant.

Bakhtyar noted that CPEC was progressing in the right direction and the present government had expanded its scope in consultation with China to focus on industrialisation, agriculture cooperation and socio-economic development.

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