ISLAMABAD Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that Ministry of Finance has to face the twin challenges of leveraging on new avenues for additional resource creation and allocation of the existing fiscal resources prudently and optimally to meet competing demands of various sectors of the economy. Expressing these views in his opening remarks during a briefing at the Ministry of Finance on Friday, the Prime Minister asked the Ministry to realise pledges made by Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODP) and under Kerry-Lugar Law to make additional funds available for enhancing size of Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) during the course of the year. Ministry of Finance must ensure that allocated funds for PSDP projects are timely released and procedural difficulties are promptly addressed, he added. The Prime Minister urged the Ministry of Finance to look at the performance of its own organisations like State Bank, National Bank of Pakistan, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), National Savings, Zarai Taraqiati Bank and Joint Investment Companies to make them model institutions for others to follow. The Prime Minister asked the Ministry to carry out a review of the ongoing development projects and monitor the performance of project management units and specialised companies more intensely. He said restructuring and austerity must begin at the Ministry of Finance and others should follow. He said that Ministry of Finance should propose policies, which would enable sustained economic growth promoting a decent living standard for the people. The Prime Minister said that the Ministry of Finance was assigned a further key role in reform and restructuring of public sector enterprises. This was essential, he said, to release pressure on public finances and make these enterprises healthy. He urged the Ministry of Finance to expedite work in this area. The Prime Minister observed that the Government had largely achieved economic targets set for the first two years. He said macro-economic stability was restored and economy was back on its growth path. He said that foreign exchange reserves were at a respectable level and workers remittances were also increasing. FBR revenue collection is growing and manufacturing is picking up while exports have begun to rebound as well, he remarked. The Prime Minister said that during the last two years, major long pending issues were resolved including the 7th NFC Award and payment of Net-Hydel Profit to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and payment of royalty on oil and gas to Balochistan. This was certainly in line with our policy, he added, to give full autonomy to provinces as it was the firm belief of the Government that only strong provinces could guarantee a strong Pakistan. The Prime Minister noted that despite all these achievements, the Government was still facing multiple challenges like war on terrorism that continued to impose heavy costs on economy. He said energy shortages and water and food security required large public investment. Similarly, he added, more investments are needed in health, education, sanitation and environment to secure decent living standards for the people. Mentioning the fiscal constraints, the Prime Minister said that it had led to a contraction in the size of Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) this year, thus adversely affecting the development agenda of the Government. He congratulated Minister for Finance Dr Hafeez Shaikh and his team on presenting a balanced budget in difficult times and wished them well during the course of the year. The challenge now is to achieve the targets set under the budget, he emphasised. The Prime Minister expressed confidence that Minister for Finance and his team fully understood the problems of the common man and development priorities of the Government.