The Annual Development Programme for 2016-17 should help attract private investment to the province. Promotion of private investment is at the heart of the Punjab Economic Growth Strategy 2014-18, Adviser to the Chief Minister Ijaz Nabi said on Monday.
He said promotion of social cohesion was also an important feature of the strategy.
He was speaking at a workshop held to kick start the development of the 2016-17 ADP. The workshop was jointly organised by the Planning and Development Department and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development’s (DFID) Sub-National Governance Programme.
Nabi stressed the need for designing development interventions in accordance with the growth strategy. He said the sustainable development goals (SDGs) could serve as benchmarks to measure development gains.
Hamed Yaqoob Sheikh, Sub-National Governance Programme team leader, said that SNG and P&D officials had revised planning documents to keep them updated on new concepts of development. He said it was important that all government departments proposed their development projects in view of the revised documents. The SNG had also helped the P&D Department update its planning manual and ADP guidelines.
Faisal Rasheed, an adviser with the SNG programme, briefed the workshop on the government’s economic vision for 2018 and highlighted the expectations from the various departments for the execution of the growth strategy.
Sharing experiences from the outgoing years, P&D Department Secretary Iftikhar Sahoo discussed the problems faced by various departments in planning and implementation of development projects.
He stressed the need for enhancing capacity of line departments for identifying and planning projects that were in accordance with the growth strategy. He said the delay in approval and award of development schemes was undermining the government’s ability to achieve desired development outcomes.
The secretary said the departments should identify development in view of their priorities and expected returns, and not on availability of funds.
He said the workshop had been arranged to let government officials from various departments to sit together and devise their development plans.
Later, the participants were distributed into sector-wise groups and asked to identify priority areas for the sector. The priorities identified by the participants would be used to determine development schemes for inclusion in the ADP 2016-17. Officials from Health, Education, Livestock and Dairy Development, Mines and Minerals, Information and Culture, Local Government and Community Development, and Punjab Economic Research Institute were present on the occasion.
The Punjab Growth Strategy 2014-2018 had set the target for economic growth rate at 7-8 per cent. It included generation of one million jobs and provision of skills training to two million youth.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 1st, 2016.