PTI govt sets 4% GDP growth target for next fiscal year

Council also approves national development outlay of Rs1.837tr for 2019-20

Our Correspondent May 29, 2019
PM Imran Khan chairs NEC meeting at the PM House in Islamabad on Wednesday. PHOTO: PID

ISLAMABAD: The National Economic Council (NEC) on Wednesday approved a target of 4% GDP growth for the financial year 2019-20.

A meeting of the council chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan also approved a national development outlay of Rs1.837 trillion for the next fiscal year that includes funds for the federal Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) and the provincial Annual Development Programmes (ADPs).

The meeting reviewed the Annual Plan 2018-19 and the one proposed for 2019-20.

Growth targets of 3.5%, 2.2% and 4.8% have been set for the agricultural, industrial and services sector respectively for the next financial year.

According to a statement, the meeting also reviewed the draft of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2018-23).

The participants of the meeting were informed that the main themes of the plan included balanced and equitable regional development; sustainable, inclusive and job-creating export-led growth; resource mobilisation and improving governance; improving social protection; ensuring food and water security; enhancing connectivity; promoting the knowledge economy and a clean and green Pakistan.

The NEC approved the 12th Five-Year Plan in principle. It was decided that the plan would be further fine-tuned, especially in terms of its implementation mechanism, in consultation with all stakeholders.

The meeting reviewed the PSDP 2018-19 and the one proposed for 2019-20.

The participants were briefed that the PSDP 2019-20 focused on new initiatives in the fields of agriculture, information technology, higher education, science and technology and technical education and training.

Targeted interventions will be made in the less-developed districts to bring them at par with other parts of the country for regional equalisation.

The 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Programme, the Prime Minister's Youth Skill Development Initiative, rehabilitation of the affected population residing along the Line of Control, construction of Gilgit-Shandur-Chitral Road, improvement of the sewerage and sanitation system in Gilgit and development of the merged districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) are some of the major priority areas of the PSDP 2019-20.

The progress report of the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) and the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019 was also presented before the council.

The NEC confirmed the extension in powers of the Special Forum for Rehabilitation and Reconstruction in FATA (erstwhile) till December 2019.

The special forum, under the chairmanship of the Commander 11 Corps, was established by the NEC on May 30, 2016 for a period of two years for a fast-track implementation mechanism for rehabilitation and reconstruction in the erstwhile tribal areas.

The meeting approved the establishment of the Islamabad Development Working Party (IDWP) headed by the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) chief commissioner.

It will include representatives from the ministries of finance, planning and other offices concerned. The IDWP will be allowed to approve development projects costing up to Rs60 million.

The council also approved the procedure for the approval of the Programme for Results (PforR), the Development Policy Credits (DPCs) and the Financial Intermediation Programmes (FIPs).

Speaking during the meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan said the country was facing an unprecedented economic crisis when the present government took over.

"All our efforts were aimed at preventing the country from default," he added.

"The economic crisis is also an opportunity. We can undertake and accomplish all those tasks which should have been done earlier."

The prime minister stressed the need for joint efforts by the federal and provincial governments to overcome the present economic crisis.

Imran said the government had introduced a new local government system in Punjab and K-P to ensure the empowerment of the people at the grass-roots level and allow them an opportunity to play their part in their own development process.

The premier reiterated his call to the provinces to allocate necessary financial resources, as per the commitments made earlier, for the development of the merged districts in K-P.

The meeting was attended by Adviser to the PM on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, Commerce Adviser Abdul Razzak Dawood, K-P Governor Shah Farman, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, K-P Chief Minister Mehmood Khan, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan, Gilgit-Baltistan Hafiz Chief Minister Hafiz ur Rehman, Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht, K-P Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Naheed Durrani and Jan Muhammad Jamali.

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