ISLAMABAD    -   Amid protest by Sindh, the Annual Plan Coordination Committee (APCC) Thursday finalises national development outlay of Rs 1.837 trillion for fiscal 2019-20.

A meeting of the Annual Plan Coordination Committee (APCC) was held here under the chairmanship of Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar. Provincial finance ministers, federal secretaries, officials from provincial governments attended the meeting.

During the meeting, the Ministry of Planning gave an overview of the performance of the economy in current fiscal year (2018-19) and macro-economic targets for the next fiscal year (2019-20). For the next fiscal the APCC set GDP growth target at 4 percent target, agriculture growth target 3.7 percent, industrial growth target 2 percent and services 4.7 percent.

The size of the national development outlay is proposed at Rs. 1.837 trillion with provincial contribution of Rs 912 billion. Ministry of Planning also apprised the stakeholders about the underlying priorities of the development framework and presented federal public sector development programme (PSDP) for 2019-20 with an allocation of Rs.675 billion. Recognizing the critical role of the private sector, Public-Private Partnership, BoT and other modes would be utilized. Initially innovative financing of infrastructure projects with an allocation of Rs.250 billion are presented to enhance the role of the private sector through relevant government departments. The National Economic Council (NEC) will give final approval to the proposed PSDP and ADP.

It is pertinent to mention here that in the fiscal 2018-19 the total national developmental outlay was Rs 2043 billion including Rs 1030 billion for PSDP and Rs 1013 billion for provincial ADPs. The proposed developmental outlay is around Rs 203 billion less than the budget allocated by the PML(N) government for the current fiscal year.

Of the total federal development outlay Rs 675 billion will be funded through Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) and Rs 250 billion will be funded from alternative source. The provincial development outlay Annual Development Plan has been reduced by Rs 101 billion from Rs 1013 billion in current fiscal to Rs 912 billion during fiscal 2019-20.

Out of total Federal PSDP of Rs 675 billion Rs 100 billion are in block allocations while the remaining Rs 575 billion are proposed for the developmental projects and ERRA. Of the development budget of Rs 575 billion Rs 375.1 billion will be funded from the PSDP while Rs 199.36 billion will be funded by corporations.

The block allocation includes Rs 32.5 billion for TDPs, Rs 32.5 billion for security enhancement, Rs 10 billion for PM’s Youth Skill Development initiative, Rs 2 billion for Clean Green Pakistan Movement, RS 1 billion for Gas Infrastructure Development Cess and Rs 22 billion for merged areas 10 years development plan.

Of the Rs 370 billion for the ministries and divisions allocated for the developmental projects the major portion of Rs 84.72 billion will go to water sector.

During meeting, Sindh Minister for Mines and minerals, Shabir Bajarani protested over the removal of Sindh’s projects from PSDP. Sindh has complained that 36 projects worth Rs 51 billion of the province were dropped from the PSDP. Sindh’s minister said that out of total 293 PSDP schemes only 19 schemes worth Rs 10.49 billion were added to the PSDP. He said that interior Sindh has not been included in the less developed areas.

The minister alleged that Karachi Greater water supply scheme, four irrigation projects, RBOD, Darawat dam is not included in the PSDP.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms highlighted the performance of the economy amidst backlog of serious macroeconomic imbalances. He reaffirmed the commitment of the government for balanced and equitable development. He apprised the participants about the challenging adjustment process which is constraining expanding development portfolio. However the government is optimizing economic returns by investing in projects with high socio-economic return.

Giving broader outlines of next financial year’s PSDP, Makhdum Khusro said that this will be the incumbent government’s first development portfolio under serious budgetary constraints. Even then new important areas including climate change, clean green Pakistan, knowledge economy, human resource development, agriculture growth, regional equalization development programme will be given priority besides harnessing full socio-economic potential of the CPEC, stated the Minister. He said growth strategy of the government is to create more opportunities for the poor and vulnerable and support regional equalization.

The minister highlighted that previous government mismanaged the PSDP (2018-19) in the last year of its term by adding 393 projects with a throw-forward of Rs. 2 trillion which was 33% of the total throw-forward against a meagre allocation of Rs. 55 billion.

During the meeting, the Ministry of Planning gave an overview of the performance of the economy in current fiscal year (2018-19) and macro-economic targets for the next fiscal year (2019-20). The participants were informed that the government is making concerted efforts to stabilize the economy to correct structural imbalances and enhance long-term growth potential.

Infrastructure continued to be the largest sector but social sector is also given importance according to the government priorities. Special importance will be given to the backward and remote areas especially Balochistan, South Punjab, Rural Sindh and Southern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Projects under CPEC have been provided sufficient resources required for their completion as per schedule.

The meeting decided to formulate a coordination committee under Secretary Planning with representation from all provinces. The proposed committee will make monthly review of ongoing projects, releases and operational difficulties whereas quarterly review will be conducted by the Minister.