NEC approves Rs873bn annual development plan -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

NEC approves Rs873bn annual development plan

Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD: The National Economic Council (NEC) has increased the allocation for next year’s Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) to Rs873 billion, about Rs48 billion more than approved by the Annual Plan Coordination Committee (APCC) and about 19.6 per cent more than the current year’s allocation of Rs730 billion.

The NEC meeting held on Thursday with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in the chair approved the 2012-13 annual plan which envisages an economic growth rate of 4.3 pc and sets inflation at 12.5 pc.

The chief minister of Punjab was represented at the meeting by Senator Ishaq Dar and Balochistan by the chief secretary.

The development programme includes a federal share of Rs360 billion and provincial annual development plans of Rs513 billion.

The federal PSDP is about 20 pc (Rs60 billion) higher than current year’s Rs300 billion and the provincial programme is about 19.3 pc more than the current year’s Rs430 billion.

The PSDP will include a foreign exchange component of Rs100 billion.

The NEC increased provincial governments’ limit to approve and execute shared projects with the federal government from Rs5 billion to Rs10 billion and empowered them to approve projects that might involve 100 per cent provincial financing without recourse to any federal approval.

An official told Dawn that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Amir Haider Hoti objected to “a traditional one-line allocations” to the National Highway Authority (NHA) enabling it to execute projects of road network on its own compromising the interest of smaller provinces. On his demand, the NEC agreed to allocate scheme-wise funds to the NHA instead of one-liners.

An official of the Sindh government said the NEC meeting was unusually smooth this year because the development programme had been shared with the provinces and most of the provincial suggestions had been incorporated in the final summary.

He said that Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah had complained against the planning commission for neglecting the Thar coal project and demanded full focus of the federal government. As a result, the prime minister agreed to allocate Rs900 million for the Thar Coal Gasification Project being implemented by nuclear scientist Dr Samar Mubarakmand.

The official said the federal PSDP included Rs54 billion projects for Sindh, including Karachi sewerage scheme, K-4 water plan, Lyari Expressway and Karachi Circular Railway.

An official statement said the focus of the federal PSDP was on completion of ongoing projects and 97 pc or Rs337 billion had been allocated for 972 projects currently with implementation stage.

Of these, 262 projects of Rs270 billion are expected to be completed during the next financial year at a cost of Rs48 billion.

Only three per cent funds of the total PSDP has been allocated for new schemes.

Sectors that have received major allocations include Rs184 billion for energy projects and Rs48 billion for water sector projects.

The road sector received an allocation of Rs59 billion and Railways Rs23 billion, education and health and population sectors secured Rs20 billion and Rs24 billion, respectively.

The NEC approved a growth target of 4.3 pc against 4.7 pc this year as envisaged in the 2012-13 annual plan to be achieved through improvement in productivity and competitiveness, market reforms, promotion of cities as regional clusters, improved connectivity, reforming the civil service, institutions and PSEs, harnessing the potential of youth and embarking on result-based management.

The NEC set an agricultural growth rate of four per cent against 3.1 pc this year with crops growing at 3.8 pc compared with 2.1 pc this year.

The manufacturing sector is estimated to grow by 4.1 pc against 3.6 pc this year and the services sector is expected to post a growth rate of 4.6 pc compared with four per cent this year.