Government to expedite release of development funds

Updated August 22, 2019

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Decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the Prime Minister's economic team led by  Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. 1 APP/File
Decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the Prime Minister's economic team led by Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. 1 APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Concerned over a slower beginning of development programme and overall economic activities in the country, the government on Wednesday decided to relax procedures for release of development funds and improve utilisation of external financing to fast-track the execution of development projects particularly those relating to social sector.

The decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the Prime Minister's economic team led by his Adviser on Finance and Revenue Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. The meeting was attended by ministers and advisers of the planning, economic affairs, commerce and industry ministries in addition to the heads of board of investment, the Federal Board of Revenue, Planning Commission and finance, food security and planning secretaries.

Informed sources told Dawn that the meeting had been called in the wake of slow disbursements of funds for development schemes, particularly on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and criticism from independent economists that government’s pre-occupation with political accountability was affecting the economic situation and the people were suffering due to high inflation and slowing economic activities.

The sources said the government had been advised by lending partners and well wishers to focus more on improving investment climate and expedite implementation of development projects so as to create job opportunities and ease difficulties being faced by the common men and protect their living standards. They said that some quarters were creating an impression that SEZs under the CPEC had come to a standstill in recent months following PM Imran Khan’s US visit which required to be dispelled.

An official statement said the minister for planning and development briefed the economic team about the progress on mega Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) projects during the current fiscal year. He also presented the complete road map to execute major projects on a fast-track basis.

He told the meeting that proper monitoring will be conducted during the current fiscal year so that all development initiatives may be completed as per planned physical and financial phasing and latest technologies will be utilised to monitor and complete these projects.

Economic affairs division minister told the meeting that sufficient funds were available from development partners for projects of social and infrastructure sectors of the federal and provincial governments.

Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2019