• Inflation likely to stay in double digits due to global pressures
• 2,928MW to be added to national grid
• Allocation prioritised for large dams for water conservation
ISLAMABAD: With the likely resumption of the IMF programme, the government expects the economic outlook for the fiscal year 2022-23 to result in orderly rebalancing between imperatives of economic growth, according to the Annual Plan 2022-23 document released on Friday.
Keeping in view external and local uncertain economic environment, GDP growth will slightly taper off and is envisaged at five per cent for the next fiscal year on the back of 3.9pc growth in agriculture, 7.1pc in manufacturing and 5.1pc growth in the services sector.
The document says investment will also be moderated because of fiscal and current account compression, while inflation will stay in double digits as global inflationary pressures will not taper off very quickly.
Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal said the annual plan has been prepared focusing on issues of growth with stability, energy, water, food, people-centric security, human development, social services, and strengthening the federation.
The priority of the government would be to enable the economy to work at its full potential to provide a better living for the people, better infrastructure, particularly in backward areas, uninterrupted and affordable energy, quality education and health for every citizen.
The annual plan for 2022-23 aims to ensure inclusion of vulnerable people in poverty reduction and social development plans to enhance their socio-economic mobility. Funds amounting to Rs184.682 million have been allocated for 11 schemes of human rights and Rs500m for two schemes of poverty alleviation and social welfare sector under PSDP 2022-23.
Focusing on the development of less-developed special areas, the annual plan focuses on timely achievement of development targets through major chunk of allocation for completion of ongoing schemes.
In 2022-23, maximum funds, out of total water-sector allocation of Rs95.56 billion, are earmarked for reversing water scarcity priority development programmes. Initiatives of developing water storages, flow measurement through automatic telemetry system, demand management, rainwater harvesting, decreasing water losses, groundwater regulation and management, reclamation of degraded land due to waterlogging and salinity and increase in operation and management cost of irrigation infrastructure and water charges (abiana) in consultation with stakeholders would be taken.
During the next fiscal year, 2,928 megawatts of new generation capacity will be added in the national grid including major contribution of 1,650MW from local coal. Consequently, the NTDC/CPPA-G basket will have a cumulative capacity of 40,879MW. The transmission sector will not witness any significant capacity addition during next fiscal year.
The Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for FY 2022-23, with the size of Rs800bn, will focus on improvements in sectors like water resources, energy, transport and communications, higher education, health, science and technology and balanced regional development.
Details of PSDP mention the revival of CPEC and related projects for interprovincial and regional connectivity with equal importance to special economic zones (SEZs) to promote trade, industrialisation and create job opportunities.
For the conservation and augmentation of water resources, allocation has been prioritised for large dams like Diamer-Bhasha, Mohmand, Nai Gaaj and the fifth extension of Tarbela. Out of the total water sector development programme amounting to Rs95,560m, an amount of about Rs60,000m has been allocated under the next fiscal year. This includes Rs39,000m for large dams and Rs21,000m for medium and small dams.
Under the annual plan in agriculture sector, programmes to minimise conveyance losses and system modernisation will be continued along with other storage and conservation measures. All-out efforts would be made to maintain overall water availability at the level of 130MAF. During this period, out of total 91 ongoing water sector projects, about 15 are expected to be completed.
In the area of regional development, the annual plan document says tourism, petroleum sector development and information technology areas have also been opened up for cooperation with China to maximise the benefits of CPEC. Measures are also being taken to facilitate Chinese investment particularly in the SEZs and free zone in Pakistan.
With the completion of the ongoing and pipeline projects, Gwadar port’s hinterland will further be expanded and better position the port city in the overall regional connectivity framework.
Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2022