The annual development plan for Sindh is expected to be Rs111 billion, which the economists say is “not too bad”.
Experts have said, however, that the true value of the allocation can be determined only after deflating the amount with rising prices and converting it into dollars to see what it can buy.
A senior officer of the planning and development department told The Express Tribune that out of the total amount, Rs90 billion will be distributed across 37 sectors and the remaining will be kept aside for a rainy day.
Keeping in line with the directives of the National Economic Council chaired by the prime minister, all ongoing schemes will be given a large piece of the provincial development pie.
Presently, there are a total of 1,753 ongoing schemes in Sindh of which 350 are scheduled to be completed. The completed schemes add up to about Rs2 billion. “The ratio of ongoing schemes to completed ones is on the lower side,” admitted a former chief economist of the planning commission. “Only when one calculates the average growth period of all ongoing projects can one make a more accurate assessment,” he added.
In the upcoming financial year, 483 new schemes will be inducted along with the remaining 1,403 ongoing ones.
An official explained the financial allocations with the example of a cake. “A slice is given to each sector, depending on the size of the cake +++and the average development spending and need over the last four to five years,” he said.
The health development budget for the upcoming financial year is estimated to be Rs6.9 billion. Of the 38 schemes in the last year, 20 have been completed so far. The development budget for health in the financial year 2010 - 2011 was initially marked at Rs6.5 billion but the diversion of funds for flood relief cut it down to around Rs4.4 billion. “This year we have raised the health development budget by 63 per cent based on the revised budget in the financial year ending June 30,” the official explained.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2011.
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