ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday estimated the size of Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) at about Rs675 billion for the next fiscal year — unchanged at the slashed allocation for the current year — and the economic growth rate at 4.6 per cent as parliamentarians questioned effectiveness of the government policies to address the challenges facing the country.
The Planning Commission also revealed at a meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Planning and Development that the government was about to declare “agriculture emergency” in the country through a series of initiatives and focus on the construction sector in the coming budget and over the next five years for job creation. Therefore, the agricultural output was estimated at 3.2pc next year, compared to 1.9pc this year. The output is estimated to touch 4pc by 2023 — the terminal year of the next five-year plan — with an average growth rate of 3.3pc.
The industry is estimated to post a healthy growth of 4.3pc next fiscal year, compared to this year’s expected growth of 2.8pc. The industry is projected to reach 8.4pc by 2023, with an average annual growth rate of 5.8pc in five years. The overall economic growth is expected to increase from 4pc this year to 4.6pc next year, followed by 5.5pc in 2020-21, 6.3pc in 2021-22 and 6.7pc of GDP in 2022-23, averaging 5.4pc per year.
The Planning Commission said that though these targets were yet to be finalised and should be taken as tentative, a lot of policies, projects and initiatives had been lined up to achieve these targets.
The meeting, presided over by Junaid Akbar, expressed displeasure over the absence of Planning and Development Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtyar despite the fact that he had himself set the schedule for the briefing. The committee members also questioned various projects which, according to them, were prepared in silos and offices with little grasp of the ground situation.
Planning Secretary Zafar Hasan informed the committee that the finance ministry had not yet formally indicated resource envelop for next year’s PSDP which was expected to remain unchanged at the last year level because of fiscal constraints. As per the book, the finance ministry should tell the planning about the ceiling for the PSDP by March, but they had not yet done so, he said.
He said that based on indicative budget ceiling of the finance ministry, the Planning Commission would ask all ministries and divisions to send their priority lists of new projects. He said the Planning Commission would allocate about 80pc of the PSDP funds for ongoing projects, while a maximum 25pc funds could be given to new projects.
Mr Hasan said the projects with 70pc progress would be provided 100pc allocations during the next fiscal year.
Regarding the projects dropped from the revised PSDP by the PTI government, the secretary said the approved projects did not require fresh approval provided the relevant ministries and executing agencies re-submitted them for inclusion in next year programme.
Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2019