The planning and development department (PDD) of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) has sketched out a comprehensive annual development programme (ADP) for 2013-14 with an estimated cost of Rs18.5 billion, out of which Rs1.92 billion will be provided by foreign donors.
The document available with The Express Tribune says Rs1.66 billion will be appropriated to the Fata Development Authority (FDA), which focuses on economic and mineral development. “The FDA will utilise the funds to better peoples’ lives in the tribal areas,” said Fata Secretariat’s Information Director Fazalullah Khan.
The ADP report says Fata has been facing immense challenges for more than three decades. Mainstreaming and revitalising Fata is essential for the future of the country and the ADP is the primary instrument for restoring the social, political and economic balance of its residents. To this end, this year’s budget has been substantially increased compared to last year’s Rs10 billion. Fazalullah said this was due to the governor’s special interest in the development of the region. Governor Shaukatullah Khan belongs to Bajaur Agency and is the first governor of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa who belongs to the tribal areas.
While formulating the ADP, special care has been taken to correctly align it with strategic documents, including the Fata Sustainable Development Plan (FSDP) and Post Conflict Need Assessment (PCNA). Working guidelines were issued after the governor approved them and were communicated to stakeholders at all levels.
ADP documents reveal Rs14.92 billion has been appropriated for 1,281 schemes out of which Rs10.4 billion will be spent on completing 1,000 existing projects, while Rs4.52 billion is allocated for 281 new schemes in Fata’s seven agencies and the Frontier Regions.
The report mentioned that extensive consultation sessions were held with political administrations, parliamentarians and development experts to draw the parameters of the new ADP.
The ADP will be governed by a set of priorities aligned to those of the FSDP and PCNA. These priorities include the completion of ongoing schemes to avoid further proliferation of smaller schemes. Revamping, strengthening and rehabilitating existing infrastructure will be preferred over new projects.
Fazalullah said the FSDP and PCNA are a form of intervention in Fata to sustain the development initiatives being taken by the government. This helps in creating jobs for the youth and in introducing coordinated development schemes.
A renewed emphasis will be given to alternative forms of energy, particularly solar energy to overcome the energy crisis. Focus has also been put on micro hydel units.
Miniature schemes, however, will be discouraged and preference will be given to larger schemes that would have a more profound impact on Fata’s socio-economic profile.
In a first, the ADP also includes two new sectors: sports, culture and youth affairs, and population welfare, Fazalullah added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2013.