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Rs675bn earmarked for development

Updated June 12, 2019

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ISLAMABAD: The government has earmarked Rs675 billion — including foreign assistance of Rs127bn — for the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2019-20. The development programme will focus on new initiatives in the agriculture sector to ensure food security, prioritisation of mega dams for water conservancy and interventions in the field of knowledge economy and skills development.

The PSDP document, however, explained that the size of federal development programme is set at Rs951bn, and in view of the shrinking public resources, Rs250bn will be arranged through innovative financing such as BOT and PPP modes. PSDP is a part of a rolling plan to carry forward the strategic vision of the government, it says.

Infrastructure sector has been allocated 64 per cent of Rs575bn meant for ministries. Highest priority has been accorded to transport and communications sector with an allocation of Rs200bn. This includes Rs160bn for national highways, Rs16bn for railways and Rs24bn for other projects including aviation schemes.

In the water sector, large mega dams and drainage projects both new and ongoing have been appropriately funded. Provincial schemes of small dams have been selected for funding in less developed regions under the vision of equitable regional development.

As per national water policy minimum allocation to water sector should be 10pc of the PSDP size, and Rs70bn will be allocated for water sector. Financing of water sector projects benefiting one province will be discouraged from the federal PSDP except financing of small dams in Balochistan. To fully benefit from such public investments, the provincial government will ensure development of command area. The first phase of Kachhi Canal will be completed during next two to three years.

Energy sector has been accorded due priority where investment of Rs120bn has been planned. Of this, around Rs80bn have been proposed from the budget while Rs40bn will be invested by the NTDC/Gencos/Wapda from self-generated resources on transmission and distribution system.

Inter-connection of the isolated Makran network via Nag Basima grid station from Panjgoor will be completed during next three years.

For fast track development in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan a sum of Rs39bn has been allocated. Similarly, for merged districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Rs46bn has been proposed. This includes Rs22bn for merged areas under the ten-year development plan.

An amount of Rs32bn has been allocated for education programmes including higher education. Prime Minister’s initiatives like youth skill development initiative and others will continue with an allocation of Rs10bn.

Special attention has been given to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change, and the government’s programme of 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Programme will receive an allocation of Rs8bn. Furthermore, funds will be made available for ‘Clean and Green Pakistan Movement’.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2019