The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) approving development projects worth more than Rs100 billion is a praiseworthy move. The development projects will further improve the infrastructure network of the country. The allocation of such lucrative funds for developmental projects will also help in alleviating poverty, as they will help in creating employment opportunities.

In the emerging economies of the world, new infrastructure is always needed: water treatment, power, transport, etc.; facilities to aid economic growth and achieve continued social improvement: schools, hospitals, etc. Pakistan too is an emerging economy. Despite the financial limitations it is facing, the country cannot ignore the development process for long.

In recent years there has been greater recognition that infrastructure investment plays an essential role in responding to political and economic challenges. Issues of social and economic inequality, including regional disparities, are coming to the fore and targeted infrastructure investment offers a means to address this. Development projects – either building new or modernising existing infrastructure – requires substantial investment. And the decisions made in the ECNEC meeting show the vision of the present government in this regard.

Moreover, many studies have found empirical evidence supporting the positive impact of infrastructure on the economy. Furthermore, infrastructure is a crucial driver of economic growth, as well as competitiveness and social well-being.

But while going on with the projects, the government needs to keep in mind that development is challenging even under the best of conditions. It can be even more complicated when the local context is complex, and when some groups face the risk of losing out as part of the development process. Therefore, the government needs to study all the pros and cons before starting any of the approved projects. Nevertheless, it goes without saying that development that potentially improves economic outlook directly is sorely needed and very welcome.