ISLAMABAD: The government has set the national development outlay for 2019-20 at Rs1.837 trillion, including foreign assistance of Rs237 billion.
According to Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, the development outlay comprises Rs675bn as the federal Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), including foreign assistance of Rs127bn, and Rs912bn as provincial annual development plans (ADPs), including Rs110bn in foreign assistance.
The size of the development outlay for 2019-20 has been reduced as compared to Rs2,043bn allocated in the outgoing financial year. The planning minister says the government’s ambition to pursue a development agenda at rapid pace is constrained by limited fiscal space.
The plan document shows the foreign aid sought for development for the next year has also been curtailed as compared to Rs339bn of 2018-19. The federal PSDP and provincial ADPs also showed a declining trend.
The annual plan set the gross domestic product (GDP) growth at four per cent during 2019-20 with contributions from agriculture (3.5pc), industry (2.3pc) and services (4.8pc). The growth targets for these sectors have also been reduced as compared to 3.8pc in agriculture, 6.2pc in manufacturing and 6.4pc in the services sector during the outgoing fiscal year.
The growth targets are subject to risks of extreme weather fluctuations, interruption in envisaged reforms and non-aligned monetary and fiscal policies. However, the targets are attainable with the revived agriculture sector, growth in the industrial sector, pickup in private sector credit and expected completion and spillover effects of projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
In the agriculture sector, 3.5pc growth has been set on the basis of expected contributions from important crops (3.5pc), other crops (3.1pc), cotton ginned (2.5pc), livestock (3.7pc), fishery (4pc) and forestry (2pc).
The production targets for wheat and cotton are expected to be attained given that the quality and quantity of agriculture inputs are ensured. This includes consistent availability of water, certified seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and agriculture credit facilities.
The annual plan for 2019-20 centres on the guiding principles set under the national water policy and 12th five-year plan. The annual strategy to achieve the targets comprises water augmentation, water conservation, groundwater management and protection of infrastructure.
The investment target for 2019-20 has been kept at 15.8pc of GDP in order to achieve sustained and inclusive growth. Fixed investment is expected to grow to 14.2pc of GDP. National savings as percentage of GDP are targeted at 12.8pc. The focus is to replace consumption-led growth by investment-led growth.
Exports are targeted to increase by 6.2pc, while imports are projected to marginally increase by 0.8pc in 2019-20. Workers’ remittances are targeted to reach $24bn, while current account deficit is projected to be contained at 3pc of GDP.
Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2019