PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has voiced alarm over the removal of the province’s 91 “crucial” projects from the Public Sector Development Programme proposed for the upcoming fiscal year, warning that the federal government’s decision will severely hinder the province’s development.

These projects were excluded from the PSDP in the May 31 meeting of the Annual Plan Coordination Committee, claimed KP Chief Minister Ali Amin Khan Gandapur in a letter written to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on June 5 with the title “genuine concerns of the KP government regarding development plans for 2024-25.”

In the letter, a copy of which is available with Dawn, the chief minister complained about the “disappointing decision of the APCC meeting on the issue of excluding the projects with an estimated throw forward of Rs1.328 trillion from the proposed PSDP, which was shared with KP two hours prior to the meeting held last month.”

He said the APCC served as an important forum for fostering consensus among the federal and provincial stakeholders, laying down priorities for development spending within the available resources.

CM insists move violates SIFC’s decisions, threatens province’s uplift

Mr Gandapur said economic disruption and overall contraction of the economy had posed significant challenges, particularly in the allocation of resources under the federal PSDP to the provinces.

He insisted that the APCC’s May 31 decision was contrary to the decisions reached in apex committee meeting of the Special Investment Facilitation Council on Jan 3 that all ongoing projects would be completed to avoid waste of investment already made and legal and contractual issues and that since approval was not required for their continuation, authorisation of allocated funds should be made to ensure their timely completion.

“According to the decision of the National Economic Council’s meeting on Jan 29, all ongoing projects may be completed to avoid waste of investment already made and due to possible legal and contractual issues. Authorization of allocated funds for such projects should be made to ensure their timely implementation,” he said.

Mr Gandapur said in the prevailing situation, violation of both decisions made in the Jan 3 and 29 meetings would “surely jeopardise the development trajectory of the province.”

He added that the NEC’s Jan 29 decision also seemed to have been violated.

“Para 9 of the NEC states that the SIFC apex committee provides for barring inclusion of provincial development project in the federal PSDP except for least developed districts and regions as determined by the planning commission. It is, therefore, proposed that no provincial nature projects or programmes be included in the PSDP except those to be implemented in least developed districts and regions as determined by the Planning Commission.

“In compliance to the decision, the provincial government did not pitch any new project for the PSDP 2024-25, while in violation of the same decision, a total of 279 new projects worth Rs2917 billion with an allocation of Rs63.9 billion have been included in the PSDP,” he said.

The chief minister also said the allocation disparity between the provincial government’s approved budget and the federal government’s Indicative Budget Ceiling for merged districts’ Annual Development Programme and merged areas Accelerated Implementation Program exacerbated the situation.

He said the federal government had indicated the same old ceiling of Rs26 billion for merged areas’ ADP and Rs31 billion for merged areas’ AIP against the provincial budgeted allocation of Rs30 billion and Rs40 billion respectively.

Mr Gandapur added that under-funding persisted, hindering the execution of vital projects crucial for the development of the region.

“In light of the challenges, I implore your [PM Shehbaz’s] kind consideration and urgent intervention to address genuine demands of the KP government. A comprehensive review of the proposed budgetary allocations and inclusion of omitted projects in the final PSDP 2024-25 are paramount to ensure equitable development across the nation,” he said in the letter.

The chief minister insisted that the prime minister’s “decisive action in this matter would undoubtedly catalyse the realisation of shared vision for a prosperous and inclusive KP.”

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2024

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