Federal and provincial ministries had asked for Rs 1,800 billion; Work on Dasu and Diamer-Bhasha dams and western route of CPEC to start during the year
Balochistan CM Zehri walks out along with top officials for lack of provision of funds allocated in current year’s PSDP; KP Finance Minister Muzaffar also expresses concerns over the federal PSDP
The Annual Plan Coordination Committee on Friday approved a Rs 800 billion Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) budget which allocates the lion’s share to the infrastructure and energy sector projects.
The GDP growth target has been set at 5.7 per cent for the next financial year.
The meeting of the APCC was chaired by Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal who had to face a tough time from the Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments in the approval of the PSDP. The committee also approved Rs 875 billion provincial development outlay for the next financial year.
The APCC approved an allocation of Rs 190 billion for the National Highway Authority, Rs 130 billion for the power sector, Rs 27 billion for the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Rs 30 billion for the irrigation sector and Rs 40 billion for railways.
The internally displace persons have been allocated Rs 100 billion, Ministry of SAFRON Rs 21 billion, HEC Rs 21 billion, health Rs 25 billion, Ports and Shipping Rs 12 billion, PM’s Youth Programme Rs 20 billion, Ministry of Interior Rs 9.7 billion while Rs 20 billion have been allocated for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Talking to reporters after the meeting, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said that the provincial and federal ministries’ estimates demanded an allocation of Rs 1,800 billion for the financial year 2016-17 (FY17). However, he said that they could only accommodate projects of up to Rs 655 billion, the limit set by the Finance Ministry.
When asked about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, he said they would pick up steam during the FY17. He said that the Gwadar-Quetta road will be completed by December 2016. It will link up the Gwadar port with Balochistan and the rest of the country.
The minister said that Dasu hydro power project and Diamer-Bhasha Dam as well as the western route of CPEC will be undertaken during the next financial year. He said a programme to produce 10,000 PhDs in the next ten years will also be launched in FY17.
About provincial development outlays, he said that they would be finalised in consultation with the provinces by May 30, after which they will be forwarded to the National Economic Council (NEC) for final approval.
The minister said he was not aware of the final date for NEC, which was earlier scheduled to take place on May 30. The meeting is postponed due to illness of the prime minister. He said the prime minister will hopefully be back in next two to three days. Later, it was revealed that PM will be going through an open heart surgery and will be staying in London for the next two weeks.
Earlier at the APCC meeting, Balochistan Chief Minister Sana Ullah Zehri and the Balochistan team walked out. An official source said the CM complained that the province did not receive the allocated funds for the current fiscal year. He said that out of an allocation of Rs 48 billion under the PSDP, the province received only Rs 24 billion till May 20.
However, Ahsan Iqbal blamed the provincial bureaucracy for misguiding the CM. The minister said funds were being regularly provided. The funds were allocated for Sui model town but the provincial authorities have not provided the relevant documents to release the funds.
The model town was to be set up with Rs 500 million matching investment from the federal and provincial governments and the Sui gas field operator, Pakistan Petroleum Limited. Since no release was made by the federal government so no release was made from the PPL and the provincial funds alone could not complete the project.
The planning minister’s reply infuriated the CM who walked out from the meeting along the provincial Minister for Planning Hamid Khan Achakzai and other officials. Ahsan Iqbal had to announce an early lunch and Jumma prayers break to go to the Balochistan House to allay the concerns of the Balochistan CM.
Later on Ahsan Iqbal told the reporters, “The Balochistan CM wanted a separate meeting with me to discuss some issues. We assured him that they will get all the funds for the current financial year as well as enhanced financing for the next financial year.”
Zehri, however, said: “We are not demanding any extra amount from the federal government. We want to be provided what was allocated to us.”
Similar views were expressed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Finance Minister Muzaffer Said who said that the federal government had not included a single of their projects in the federal PSDP.
“We have raised the matter in the meeting and Ahsan Iqbal has promised to look into the matter.”