ISLAMABAD - A parliamentary committee was Thursday informed that the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) for the fiscal 2019-20 is likely to stay unchanged and will remain at Rs 675 billion.

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reforms that met with Junaid Akbar in chair expressed reservations over the 12th five year plan (2018-2023) and termed it unrealistic.

The committee was briefed by the ministry of planning on five year plan and upcoming PSDP. The Ministry apprised the Committee regarding the 12th Five Year Plan which was being formulated according to the core manifesto of the present government. Regarding the five year plan it was informed that there are 8 drivers of economic growth for the 12th plan with an implementation strategy.

The committee has expressed serious reservation over the 12th five years plan and termed it unrealistic. “It seems that the Plan was finalized in closed door without taking into consideration the ground realities and based on speculation,” said member committee.

Members raised several questions regarding the government policy for agriculture, poverty and clean Pakistan themes of the five year plan.

On agriculture the planning ministry was asked that how they will ensure the well being of small farmers? How a small farmer with one acre landholding will get benefit from the upcoming five year plan, how much credit he will get and what will be the interest rate for the loan? MNA Nawab Sher asked. However the ministry failed to gave satisfactory reply.  Similarly chairman of the committee also questioned the figures related to poverty and the capacity of the Planning Commission to verify those figures. Unless the district wise poverty figure with clarification is provided to the committee we can not validate the plan, said chairman committee Junaid Akbar. “I and other members of the committee will have reservations over the figures given for poverty in the five years plan,” he said.  On PSDP, the committee was informed by the officials of the planning ministry that they haven’t heard anything from the finance ministry regarding the ceiling of the upcoming PSDP but it is likely to stay unchanged from the ongoing fiscal where the PSDP was Rs 675 billion.

As per the book the Finance Ministry should tell the planning about the ceiling for the PSDP by March but they haven’t told us about the size of next year PSDP, secretary ministry of planning, development and reforms, Zafar Hassan, said while briefing the committee.

However, it takes some time and the finance ministry will let us know by first week of April,” he added. Regarding the next year PSDP ceiling he said that “We don’t have the exact figure yet but it will stay the same,”.

As per the rule, 80 to 85 percent PSDP will be allocated to ongoing projects while the remaining will go to new projects, secretary planning elaborated.

Zafar Hassan said that the projects with 70 percent work done will get 100% allocations during the upcoming fiscal so that it could be completed during the ongoing fiscal. However he made it clear that a project with substantial demand for allocation will be incorporated in the PSDP. “We don’t allow projects with nominal allocations,” he added.

Regarding the projects dropped from the revised PSDP by the PTI government, secretary informed that the approved projects require no approval and the ministries, division or provinces should re-send and the planning ministry will consider it for incorporation in the next year PSDP.

The Committee confirmed minutes of its second meeting held on 28th February, 2019. The Ministry also gave a compliance report regarding the recommendations of the previous meeting which was appreciated by the Standing Committee.

The Committee was of the view that the Chairman Standing Committee should also be a member of the National Economic Council to ensure the involvement of the Standing Committee in planning and approval of projects.

During the briefing, the chair emphasized the members to play an active and positive role in improving the overall functioning of the Ministry in national interest. Makhdoom Khusro Bukhtiar, Federal Minister of Planning, Development & Reforms, also attended the meeting. The chair appreciated his presence and stressed that the minister should try to make his availability in the Committee meetings to make them more fruitful in future as well.