PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is considering to remove a large number of development projects awaiting start of work for years from its development portfolio to reduce its bourgeoning throw-forward liability, which currently stands at Rs500 billion.
Sources told Dawn that the planning and development (P&D) department had asked all departments to compile lists of projects reflected in the annual development programmes during the last several years but hadn’t been executed for one reason or the other.
A senior official said the process of listing such schemes was under way in all government departments on the directions of the P&D department.
He said all those projects, which appeared in the ADPs over the years but weren’t executed would be abandoned.
“Work on some projects couldn’t begin due to dispute on land and site selection and the departments’ inability to go ahead with them despite availability of funds,” he said.
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The official said the incomplete projects were still reflected in the province’s overall development portfolio, whose currently valued around Rs500 billion.
He said some projects had estimated costs running into billions of rupees but got token allocation of only few thousand rupees every year.
The official added that such schemes were likely to be thrown out of the ADP.
He said the higher education department’s throw-forward liability (accumulation of all ongoing development projects) totaled Rs40 billion and therefore, bringing its size down to Rs22 billion had been proposed.
“A lot of colleges were reflected in the successive ADPs but work on them could not begin. The removal of these projects will curtail the overall size of development portfolio,” he said.
The official said a decision about dropping schemes had yet to be decided by the provincial government but listing of such schemes was almost complete.
“Once this exercise is over, the lists will be forwarded to the chief minister for approval before they are placed before the provincial cabinet,” he said.
About how to exclude schemes from the ADP passed by the provincial assembly, the official said the government wasn’t going to remove projects in question right now and instead, they would not be reflected in the next year ADP and that act would be given a legal cover as well.
“Work on the next year ADP is likely to start within a month or so,” he said.
A senior official of the local government department told Dawn that the P&D department had asked them to furnish details of the projects to be dropped from ADP.
“We have compiled lists of schemes valuing billions of rupees, which haven’t seen the light of the day yet,” he said.
Several senior officials also supported the scrapping of such schemes saying the move would not only bring down the provincial government’s liabilities but it will allow the diversion of resources for more important projects as well.
When contacted, planning and development secretary Shahab Ali Shah said the department was not removing schemes from the ADP and instead, it was ‘prioritising’ them.
“We are going to allocate funds available with us for crucial projects instead of doling out meagre sums, which extends the duration of projects for several years,” he said.
Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2019