LAHORE - In a recent meeting held to review the utilisation of funds by various departments, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif expressed his displeasure when he was told that some of the departments had failed to meet their targets regarding utilising of development funds during the current fiscal year.
According to minutes of the meeting available with this scribe, the chief minister had directed the chief secretary to dig out reasons why some of the departments failed to deliver in execution of development budget during the current year.
Sources privy to the development told that the CM ordered this while chairing a high level meeting also attended by Chairman PAU, Finance Minister, Dr Ejaz Nabi, MPA Dr Aysha Ghous Pasha, CS, Secretary Finance on review of the ADP 2014-15.
CS Khizar Hayat Gondal will hold a meeting with the departments who could not deliver in execution of annual development program funds and present the findings to the CM in forthcoming meeting on the subject.
As per minutes of the meeting, the CM also directed the CS to ensure biweekly review of ADP 2015-16 in addition to the reviews at the level of Chairman P&D, administrative secretaries and the relevant ministers.
On formulation of ADP 2015-16, the CM desired that sectoral plans for next fiscal year by all administrative departments should be in accordance with the sectoral allocations provided in Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) 2014-18 to meet objectives of Punjab Growth Strategy.
By implementing the MDTF in Punjab, loadshedding will have been largely eliminated by 2018, GRP growth rate will reach 8% by 2018, Punjab will be an economy of about Rs 22 trillion, Cumulative increase in number of jobs created will be over 4 million, unemployment rate will fall to 3%, increase in per capita income will be 58% in nominal terms and 20% in real terms and the number of poor is expected to fall by 8 million. Other MDTF achievements to be included most MDGs shall be attained by 2015 and the rest will be achieved within MTDF period, Private investment will be more than doubled by 2018 (From USD 8 billion to USD 17.5 billion), ADP will increase from 1.5% of GRP in 2014 to 3.75% of GRP in 2018 and Province tax to GRP ratio will rise from 0.7% to 2.0% of GRP.
Shahbaz Sharif also directed to develop a road map to achieve the targets of this strategy besides the projects to be properly designed and implemented to achieve the goals. The CM also desired a comparison of Central and Southern Punjab for ADP 2015-16.
The CM during meeting also directed that an effective implementation framework be prepared to execute not only sectoral plans and development programs but also the regular programs where major chunk of public money is being spent should be aligned in accordance with Punjab Economic Growth Strategy. The CM Shahbaz also directed the authorities for enhanced allocations for pro poor and major development initiatives in ADP 2015-16.
Talking about the next year’s ADP, the CM desired that it should reflect government’s vision of development and economic growth by harnessing the potential of youth, provision of better medical care, education, promoting skill development and good governance. He also desired that there should be regional balance in the distribution of resources. A specialized procurement agency with experts as per international standards will be established in Punjab to overcome quality, delay and transparency related issues and to ensure speedy procurement. Sources said that the CM announced to establish such agency after considering complicated procurement procedures following
The other challenges faced by Punjab discussed in the meeting included slow growth, social sector deficits, un-employment, skill gaps and security lapses. Punjab’s development priorities for achievement of 8% annual GRP growth, double private investment, 1.1 million quality jobs creation per annum, 15% annual increase in exports, achievement of Millennium Development Goals by 2018, 2 million skilled graduates by 2018.
The participants also proposed that completion of ongoing schemes should be focused, donor funded projects are to be provided full funding. Moreover, extra weightage for 11 Southern Punjab districts would be given besides ensuring regional balance in allocation of resources. The participants also desired that public private partnership should be promoted besides the departments enhance their capacity in order to meet the upcoming challenges. It was also proposed that alongside realizing demographic dividend, productivity and competitiveness in production sectors to be enhanced.