ISLAMABAD   -  Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Khusro Bakhtiyar on Saturday said that federal government has allocated Rs951 billion for the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) in next financial year despite fiscal constraints.

Addressing a press conference here, the minister said that the federal development outlay of Rs701 billion will be funded through PSDP and Rs250 billion will be funded from alternative source, Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. The government has identified major development projects, which would be completed through PPP mode; he said and added that government had given importance to the backward areas for development projects.

Sharing details of the PSDP, Khusro Bakhtiyar said that government has allocated Rs73 billion for erstwhile FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas), which is apart from Rs31 billion for the rehabilitation of these areas. He further said that Khyber Pakhtunkhawa government would also allocate Rs34 billion for erstwhile FATA for next fiscal year. The government has also allocated Rs76 billion for development projects in Balochistan. Meanwhile, special importance has given to the backward and remote areas especially Balochistan, South Punjab, Rural Sindh and Southern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the minister informed.

Bakhtiyar said that government has earmarked Rs34 billion for 35 projects for country’s economic hub, Karachi, which remained neglected in previous budgets. Similarly, the federal government has kept Rs8 billion for new projects in Islamabad Capital Territory, which are related to health, education and others. The government has also allocated Rs80 billion for power sector projects that included smart meters project. To better utilise our water resources the PSDP focus is on building dams and drainage projects with an allocation of Rs.70 billion. Allocations for Diamer Bhasha, Mohmand Dam and Dasu dams would be 12 percent of the PSDP for next fiscal year as against 10 percent of the outgoing financial year.

While agriculture sector is administratively under the domain of the provinces, the federal government is investing a record Rs12 billion for multiple projects in consultation with them. The minister further said that government has kept Rs9.5 billion for Clean and Green Pakistan and billion tree Tsunami initiatives. Similarly, the government has allocated Rs62 billion for Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K) Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan. For knowledge economy and higher education, the government has kept Rs43 billion in the budget for next fiscal year.

Khusro Bakhtiyar said that government has given importance to the ongoing development projects in the budget for next fiscal year. Around 80 percent of the PSDP allocation is for the ongoing projects. The government is aiming to complete 295 ongoing projects in next fiscal year, he added.

He informed that Sindh province would receive additional Rs200 billion from the federal government. The federal government has also Rs5 billion for development projects in Sindh, which are apart from the Karachi package. To a question about National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’s inquiry against him, the Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms said there was no inquiry against him. “I will resend at appropriate forum,” he added.

Replying to a question, he said foreign policy of the country is independent and there is no pressure whatsoever from any country on us. He said the Emir of Qatar will be visiting Pakistan soon to further cement the existing brotherly relations between the two countries. The Minister told a questioner that under CPEC’s Western Corridor, work on Quetta-Zhob road has started while the work on Sukkur-Hyderabad on Eastern Corridor will be completed soon.

He further said that eighty billion rupees have been spent on completion of Kacchi Canal project and eight billion rupees have been allocated on the project in the new budget.