ISLAMABAD: The government on Friday directed the Planning Commission to revive and strengthen its monitoring and evaluation sections to ensure real-time updates on development projects to avoid leakage and waste of public money.
The directions were issued after Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission (PMIC) expressed serious concerns over the prevailing practices in the project evaluation and monitoring, resulting among other things in project delays and cost overruns.
Based on recommendations of the PMIC, Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, while presiding over a meeting of the Planning Commission’s advisory committee, ordered strengthening of the Project Monitoring & Evaluation System (PMES) to provide real-time update on the progress of projects for timely and evidence-based decision-making.
He also directed the PMES wing to utilise advisory committee’s expertise to implement a system that is modern, professional and in line with the best practices. The meeting was also attended by members of the Planning Commission Advisory Committee, MNA Najeeb Haroon , Hub Power Company Chief Executive Officer Khalid Mansoor and Pakistan Software House Association Chairman Syed Ahmad.
On PM’s directions, the PMIC had carried out a review of the Public Sector Development Programme and suggested full compliance with its August 15, 2017 decision which said that all projects costing between Rs50 million to Rs500m should be based on feasibility studies prepared by professionals hired by ministries, divisions, departments, executing agencies for respective project management units or planning cells.
Also, “such feasibility studies should include technical details of proposed projects including design, bills of quantities etc. Besides complying with the directions of National Economic Council for the project costing above Rs500m”.
The PMIC has also demanded that the project concept papers (PC-1) for the projects involving land acquisition be prepared separately or releases for the development works be made after land acquisition. Executing agencies should also ensure that award of contract for development work is made after land acquisition, the PMIC said.
Also, the Planning Commission has been asked to ensure a time-frame for consideration of projects by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) and dedicated project directors and staff should be appointed on ground instead of running the affairs on make-shift arrangement basis.
The commission has also been asked to ensure timely releases of funds in accordance with the progress of the project and timely submission of PC-IV (project completion certificates) be ensured. There should also be mandatory monitoring of the projects falling in the purview of departmental working parties, the CDWP or Executive Committee of the National Council.
The PMIC also demanded immediate revival of Evaluation Section of the Planning Commission with adequate professional manpower and ex-post evaluation of at least 10 per cent completed projects must be undertaken in a financial year by the commission.
Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2020