'Upward trajectory of economy severely affected by Covid-19,' says govt ahead of annual budget

10 Jun 2020


Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the meeting of the National Economic Council in Islamabad on Wednesday. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan
Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the meeting of the National Economic Council in Islamabad on Wednesday. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan

The National Economic Council (NEC) on Wednesday noted that the "upward trajectory of the economy made possible after huge efforts of the present government" had been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The meeting, which reviewed the state of the economy during the current fiscal year and the outlook for FY 2020-2021, was chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad ahead of the annual budget expected on Friday.

Read: With hands in debt and eyes on Covid relief, what should this budget focus on?

According to a press release by the Prime Minister's Office, the meeting approved the gross domestic product (GDP) growth target for FY 2020-2021, along with sectoral growth projections for agriculture, industry and services.

The NEC also reviewed the Public Sector Development Programme (PDSP) for the current fiscal year and the proposed development outlay for FY 2020-2021.

According to the statement, the premier said the government was prioritising those sectors which promised job opportunities for the youth and the agriculture sector as well as focusing on upgrading the country's healthcare system.

He also emphasised the need for ensuring close coordination between the Centre and the provinces during the implementation of development projects.

Imran highlighted the need for using technology to monitor the progress of ongoing projects, and stressed on the need for ensuring public participation in development process by providing real time information and obtaining their feedback.

He also directed that the NEC meet biannually to review the progress of PDSP projects.

According to the statement, the meeting was informed that this is the first time that PDSP only includes those projects that have already been approved by the relevant forums. "This will ensure fast implementation of the projects and optimum utilisation will be carried out, leading to economic growth," it said.

Reviewing the progress of PDSP 2019-2020, the NEC noted that several initiatives taken by the federal government have contributed towards expediting the development process by implementing critical schemes in a timely manner.

"These include enhancing the sanctioning powers of the Departmental Development Working Party (DDWP) from Rs60 million to Rs2 billion, the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) from Rs3 billion to Rs10 billion and the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) above Rs10 billion."

In addition, quarterly authorisation without originating demand, real time information on expenditures and the establishment of public-private partnership authorities are also among the schemes introduced by the government.

According to the press release, 149 projects worth Rs827 billion will be complete or are expected to be completed by June 30.

Further, PDSP projects for FY 2020-2021 were focused on uplifting underdeveloped areas, including Balochistan, merged areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The NEC approved the National Development Outlay 2020-21 and the federal PSDP. It also approved the constitution of a sub-committee to provide strategic guidance, maintain oversight and ensure inter-provincial coordination on sustainable development goals.