Development budget trimmed by Rs50b

NA panel informed revised PSDP will be finalised soon

Amna Ali July 10, 2024
Minister for Planning Development & Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal. PHOTO: APP


The federal government further reduced the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) by Rs50 billion within 10 days of the start of the new fiscal year 2024-25, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Planning Ministry was informed on Tuesday.

The committee which met here with its chairman Saeed Abdul Qadir Gilani in the chair, sought details of the revised PSDP and the ongoing development projects. During the meeting, Planning Secretary Awais Manzur Sumra gave a briefing on the working of the ministry.

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, who also attended the meeting, gave an overview of the prevailing economic conditions in the country. He painted a grim economic situation, saying that the country was being run on borrowing.

“The entire country is being run on borrowing, including the salaries, pensions and subsidies. We wasted 75 years moving in circles,” he said, adding that the successive governments could not maintain continuity of policies due to political instability.

“Now, we have no other option but to manage our revenues and expenses. We have to improve our efficiency, we have to have exports-led growth,” he said, “If we do not show efficiency in the next quarter of a century, we will lose justification for the creation of Pakistan as a separate country.”

Iqbal told the committee that planning and development were the most important areas for any country. He suggested Pakistan could get out of the crisis, if “we follow the 5Es Framework”—Exports, E-Pakistan, Environment and Climate Change, Energy and Infrastructure, and Equity and Empowerment.

Iqbal said that Pakistan’s exports were currently worth $30 billion, while the country had to pay off $75 billion debt over the next three years. He emphasised that this was the era of innovation and artificial intelligence (AI) and the country would have to adapt to it. “E-Pakistan means we transform ourselves.”

According to the minister, the country’s biggest challenge for now was the climate change. “In the years to come, it will be difficult to predict when the rains will fall. If we are to avoid drought in the future, we need to manage our water resources.”

Later, Planning Secretary Awais Manzur Sumra briefed the committee about the role of the ministry. He said that it was the ministry’s responsibility to prepare the Annual National Plan, which contained the previous year’s performance data and the coming year’s targets.

The National Plan is approved by the National Economic Council [NEC],” he said. “The second part of the National Plan is the PSDP which is also approved by the NEC. This year, the NEC met on June 10, in which the ministry presented the annual plan and the PSDP,” he said.

Sumra said that revising and updating the economic targets in the annual plan was also the planning ministry’s responsibility. “We prepared the PSDP worth Rs1,400 billion and it was approved. Later, it was reduced by Rs250 billion to Rs1,150 billion. Afterwards, another cut of Rs50 billion was made,” he said.

The secretary said the revised PSDP would be ready in the next few days. The committee sought its details. The members also raised questions about development projects getting delayed because of diverse reasons.


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