As a Chinese delegation is coming to Pakistan to hold first meeting of the task force on Gwadar-Kashgar initiative, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has approved restructuring of the Ministry of Planning for setting up special units for Pak-China cooperation and improving the country’s global ranking.
The meeting of the task force on Gwadar-Kashgar rail and road project would be held in Islamabad after Eid, said Ahsan Iqbal, Minister of Planning and Development here on Saturday.
He was speaking to the media on the government’s decision to restructure the Planning Division and Planning Commission.
Iqbal said the head of China’s National Development and Reforms Commission would visit Pakistan to co-chair the task force meeting. In the deliberations, a comprehensive roadmap for the next one year will be prepared in order to undertake geological surveys and seismic studies on the Gwadar-Kashgar project.
Terrain of the route was very tough and prone to dangers like floods and avalanches, he said.
Iqbal said in parallel to the Gwadar-Kashgar project, Karachi-Lahore Motorway would be built on a fast track on the build, operate and transfer (BOT) model.
He said the PM also approved completion of six-lane Karachi-Hyderabad motorway, Hasanabdal-Mansehra motorway and expansion of Pindi Bhatia-Faisalabad motorway, all on BOT model.
Under the restructuring of the planning ministry, the Strategic and Regional Initiative Unit will be set up that will work on setting up the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and enhancing regional trade.
Iqbal spoke at length about plans to restructure his ministry and the reasons behind the decision. “In the last 14 years, the country has faced the worst kind of lack of planning,” he added.
The restructuring of the Ministry of Planning and Development to make the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms and also restructuring of the Planning Commission will be done to meet all development requirements of the country.
Had the PML-N’s Vision 2010 been implemented in the last 14 years, the country would have generated up to 28,000 megawatts of electricity by 2010, he said.
Iqbal said future of the country hinged on economic and governance reforms and the restructuring would play a pivotal role. He was of the view that current economic fundamentals were not in line with modern economic requirements.
In the restructured ministry, seven new units will be set up. Strategic Planning and Policy Unit will be responsible for preparing Vision 2025, develop five-year annual plan and also short-term annual plans.
It will also be responsible for coordinating with different ministries for developing sector-specific strategies and will identify key challenges.
Performance Delivery Unit will be responsible for implementing the party’s manifesto. It will develop key national and economic areas and monitor performance indicators assigned to each ministry on a monthly basis.
Iqbal said monthly progress reports of all ministries would be shared with the prime minister.
Reform and Innovation in Government Unit will promote and conduct research on institutional reforms and innovations and coordinate with and support ministries in undertaking reforms.
Pakistan Competitive Unit will continuously assess and promote Pakistan’s global rankings in the areas of competitiveness, doing business, governance, fragility indicators, transparency and anti-corruption.
Development Communication Unit will work for the promotion of development dialogue in the media, raise awareness of development issues and suggest solutions. It will also promote international best practices through the media.
Social Capital Unit will promote and incentivise development of education, health services and communities as well as cultural exchanges, social harmony and poverty alleviation.
Accordingly, the government has approved three additional posts for members of the Planning Commission. These are member private sector development and competitiveness, member governance, innovation and reforms and member development communication.
Iqbal said the government would soon give advertisements to hire eight members, as contracts of some of the present members had expired.
He said under Vision 2025, Pakistan would become one of the fast growing economies in Asia and the goal behind this was to make Pakistan a developed country by 2047.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2013.
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