ISLAMABAD: With first-quarter disbursements amounting Rs147 billion, the Planning Commission said on Wednesday it has sought advice from local and foreign stakeholders to reprioritise critical development projects for completion during the current fiscal year.

“The ministry has decided to invite proposals from sponsors, donors, divisions and executing agencies to provide a list of priority projects that need to be completed during this year,” said the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms on Wednesday.

In a statement, the commission said it has completed a review of funds released for development projects in July-September. It noted that the year-on-year increase in the amount of funds released in the first quarter was Rs37bn. Of the rupee component, Rs147bn has been released for 291 projects.

It said projects relating to transport and communication, water, social welfare, culture, higher education, sustainable development goals, special areas, food and agriculture, industries, minerals and the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority have been provided with maximum funds. It said the Planning Commission will ensure the availability of sufficient funds to fast-track the completion of Public-Sector Development Programme (PSDP) projects during the current fiscal year.

It said the government is making concerted efforts to address the energy-sector challenges. Almost 74 per cent of the estimated outlay of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is for the energy sector.

Under Vision 2025, the government has set the target for raising road density to 0.45 kilometres per square-kilometre by 2018, which will increase the existing national road network from about 260,000km to 358,000km. In this respect, Rs58.6bn was released in the first quarter this year compared to Rs30bn a year ago.

Likewise, Rs7.9bn has been disbursed to 10 water projects in the first quarter against Rs3.3bn in the comparable period of last year.

The Planning Ministry said education and health sectors are a major focus of the government, which is aiming to set up a university campus in each district of Pakistan. During the first quarter, Rs6.5bn was provided to these two sectors compared to Rs4.44bn last year.

Also, Rs2bn funds were disbursed for education and training projects compared to Rs1.37bn last year. For mainstreaming the youth through education, skill development, entrepreneurship, training, employment, engagement, empowerment, sports and recreational facilities, Rs11.5bn was released in July-Sept.

To acquire rapid economic growth, it is vital for developing countries to acquire advancement in latest technologies, produce talented scientists, engineers and technicians in key areas and nurture entrepreneurial culture, it said.

Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2017

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