FAWAD YOUSAFZAI

ISLAMABAD

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar on Friday ruled out cut in Rs 701 billion PSDP, saying both Prime Minister Imran Khan and IMF want full utilisation of development budget during the current fiscal.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan has also very clearly directed to use all the development budget and we will use all of it,” Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said while talking to media here. Asad Umar has said that IMF is also stressing for the full utilisation of development budget during the current fiscal.

The minister said that framework for third party participation in CPEC will be completed till June 2020. Replying to a query that whether Corona-virus has effected work on CPEC, the minister said that it is too early to say anything about the impact of the virus on corridor project. He said that some of the Chinese working on CPEC have visited China. On ML-I project, the minister said that the feasibility study of the ML-I project has been completed. Currently world bank is reviewing the feasibility study and hopefully it will be finalized by the end of February, added.

Regarding revision of the economic targets, he said that the decision to revise or not of the economic targets will be made after the completion of IMF review meetings.

He said that during current fiscal Rs 188 billion were utilized while authorization of funding worth Rs 429 billion have been issued during the current fiscal. About the expenditure trend, it was informed that in 2014-15 highest expenditure of PSDP allocation was made which is 96 percent, while in PTI government 2018-19 the utilization was only 83 percent. Showing about the expenditure trend during July to January period, it was informed that in 2015-16 it was 28 percent while in the current fiscal it was 27 percent of the total allocation.

The minister said that they are making two years national growth strategy from 2021 to 2023.”We are establishing a subcommittee of the National Economic Council (NEC).The Subcommittee will oversee Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he maintained.

Asad Omer further informed that they are establishing Construction Development Board which will assist the construction industry in the country.

Talking about the key initiatives planned up to 30 June, 2020, the minister apprised that Planning Commission revitalization strategy will be undertaken to make the Planning Commission epicenter of economic activities.

Regarding CPEC future initiatives till June 2020, the minister said that Framework for Third Party participation in CPEC will be completed during current fiscal.

Similarly the next CPEC JCC will be held in April 2020. He said that a new Joint Working Group (JWG) on Science and Technology will be constituted, Gwadar Expo 2020, Initiation of SEZ Act (Incentive package etc), and Business Forum will be done by June 2020. Strategic Plan for Development of Mineral Potential in Pakistan is also part of the future initiative, he added.

Regarding Islamabad Master Plan for Development of Capital City, the minister informed that hiring of consultants to develop Islamabad Master Plan is underway, similarly for Islamabad Bulk Water Supply Project RFP for hiring of International Consultant was issued.

The consultant will prepare feasibility and develop detail design. He said that water supply projects from Khanpur and Ghazi Barotha to the federal capital is in progress.