ISLAMABAD - Fixing a realistic growth target of 5.5 per cent for fiscal 2015-16 the National Economic Council (NEC) has set Rs1.514 trillion development outlay for the country.

The national development allocation includes Rs700 billion for federal Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) and Rs814 billion for provincial Annual Development Program (ADP).

At a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday, the economic council set 3.9 per cent growth target for agriculture sector, 6.1 per cent for manufacturing sector and $25.5 billion for exports.

A couple of weeks back while chairing a preparatory meeting for budget 2015-16 the prime minister had cautioned his economic team against setting unrealistic targets for the financial year 2015-16.

A participant quoted the PM telling his team, “It is advisable to only talk about those things which the government can achieve at the end of the day.” He was perhaps referring to lessons learnt from past experiences of unsuccessfully following up on government claims like those about ending loadshedding within six months of taking over.

So strictly adhering to the directions of the Premier the targets for next financial year were fixed keeping in mind the achievability, a source in ruling PML-N informed The Nation.

Sources aware of the deliberations of the meeting informed that finance ministry was reluctant to jack-up the federal PSDP and insisted to keep it at Rs580 billion whereas the ministry of planning and development as well as the chief ministers of all the four provinces wanted sizeable increase in it so as to meet their developmental needs.

After a long debate and argumentation finance ministry caved in and federal PSDP was enhanced to Rs700 billion, and it was also agreed upon in the meeting that the development projects under the programme would be finalised in consultation and close coordination with the provincial governments.

Sources in the Prime Minister Office informed The Nation that the PM has given clear-cut instruction to ministry of planning and development for proper allocation of funds to priority projects in complete coordination with provincial governments to ensure their optimum utilisation and reduce chances of duplication.

Sources further informed that Premier Sharif wanted special focus on the development projects relating to agriculture and energy sectors. He wanted to see completion of underway energy projects and initiation of work on the planned projects so that the target of meeting the power demand of the country would be fully met by end of the government’s term in 2018.

The NEC meeting was given an overview of the state of country’s economy in 2014-15 in addition to being briefed about budget outlay for financial year 2015-16. The meeting approved macroeconomic framework for Annual Plan for 2015-16. Progress report of CDWP from April 2014 to March 2015 was also presented before the NEC and Planning Commission was authorised to publish the 11th five-year plan.

Sources said that the projects relating to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor also figured in the meeting and it was decided that all these projects would be taken up on priority basis because the gigantic investment coming through CPEC would bring about economic turnaround in the country which would benefit all the four provinces of the country.

The PM expressed special thanks to the political parties and the provincial governments for giving political ownership to the project and once again reiterated his government’s commitment towards complete transparency in its execution.

Chief ministers of all the provinces; KP governor; federal ministers for finance, planning and water & power; finance ministers of all provinces and AJ&K; and secretaries for ministries for finance and planning attended the meeting along with other senior government officials.