National Economic Council approves Rs.730 billion Public Sector Development Programme

Islamabad: The National Economic Council (NEC) on Saturday approved Public Sector Development Programme worth 730 billion rupees for the next financial year showing 58% increase over the outgoing year.

Its meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani in Islamabad. Briefing newsmen afterwards, Minister for Finance and Economic

Affairs said the size of the Federal Public Sector Development Programme would be 300 billion rupees as against actual 196 billion rupees for the current financial year.

The size of the provincial public sector development programmes for the next financial year would be 430 billion rupees as against 266 billion rupees during this year.

The Minister explained that PSDP worth 290 billion rupees including ten billion rupees for ERRA was announced for the current financial year which was later reduced to 196 billion rupees due to floods. PSDP for provinces stood at 424 billion rupees originally for the current year but had to be reduced to 266 billion rupees.

About sectoral distribution of the Federal PSDP for the next financial year, the Minister for Finance said infrastructure, education and health would be focus of the programme. Infrastructure would get 155 billion rupees, social sector 122 billion rupees and others 23 billion rupees.

Dr. Hafeez Sheikh said it has been decided to give priority to those projects which are at stages of completion so that their benefit could accrue to people. Similarly, projects being executed with foreign assistance would also be focused and completed. Special emphasis would be given to strike a balance in the development of less development areas like Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, FATA and Balochistan. Projects of national importance like construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam would also received special attention.

The Minister said the NEC decided that instead of diverting money on numerous new projects, allocations in the PSDP for the next year would be made for completion of on-going 268 projects.

He said the Planning Commission has prepared a compendium of completed projects to ensure transparency.

The Finance Minister said due to challenges including floods, increased oil prices and security situation in the country, funds had to be diverted from the development programme.

He said it is expected that GDP growth rate this year will be 2.4 to 2.5 percent He said GDP target for the next year has been set at 4.2 percent.

The National Economic Council also approved New Growth Framework prepared by the Planning Commission envisaging six to seven percent growth rate for consistent development. He said under the Framework, new role of the government in the economy will be determined and professional managerial improvement will be brought in the government performance. He said efforts will be made to make the big cities as engines of growth like other countries of the world. It will also focus on creating job opportunities and entrepreneurship for the youth of the country.

The Minister said government expenditures will be kept tight and revenues will be enhanced. He said tax net will be broadened and more people will be brought into tax net to march towards self reliance.

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