No mega project identification in PTI’s first year


–CPEC appears as major casualty as focus shifted from infrastructure projects to new sectors

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government failed to identify even a single mega project in its first year in power, a report released by Ministry of Planning revealed on Sunday.

Pakistan Today delved into the report and discovered that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) appears to be a major casualty in the first year of the PTI government as the government shifted its focus from energy and infrastructure projects and added new sectors to CPEC portfolio, including collaboration in industrial cooperation, socio-economic development, agriculture, third-party participation and Gwadar projects.

According to the report, the ministry took pride in claiming that despite fiscal difficulties, size of Public Sector Development Projects (PSDP) for FY2019-20 was enhanced from Rs675 billion (2018-19) to Rs701 billion (2019-20).

“Less developed districts are being focused on for attaining regional equalisation. Balochistan is the biggest beneficiary of this initiative,” the report read.

The report stated that in a bid to ensure integration of merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) into the mainstream, Rs72 billion have been allocated for 2019-20.

“Under special initiatives, Taskforce on Technology Driven Knowledge Economy has been constituted by the prime minister. M/o PD&R is the secretariat of this task force. An allocation of Rs14 billion for 27 projects (worth Rs164 billion) considered to be in line with vision of the new government has been made in the PSDP for 2019-20, after detailed scrutiny,” the report added.

The report stated that the government had taken a major initiative in agriculture sector. “For this purpose, Rs12 billion has been allocated to the sector as compared to just Rs1 billion during 2018-19 to ensure food security and bring about prosperity among small farmers. Prime Minister’s Youth Skill Development Initiative and The Kamyab Jawan Programme have been launched by allocating Rs10 billion to each initiative,” the report stated.

“Ten Billion Tsunami Tree Plantation Programme has been initiated with Rs7.5 billion to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change,” it added.

In CPEC, new areas of focus have been added under “One Corridor, Multiple Doors” with the aim of ensuring inclusive and sustainable growth.

These areas include (a) trade and market access, (b) industrial development and global value chains, (c) socio-economic development & poverty alleviation, (d) agriculture modernisation and marketing, (e) Gwadar Oil City and blue economy, (f) regional connectivity & third party country participation.

“Priority shift in CPEC approach as per needs of the country i.e. from energy and infrastructure projects to collaboration in industrial cooperation, socio-economic development, agriculture, third-party participation and Gwadar has been made,” the report stated.

Formulation of 12th Five Year Plan (2018-23) was started in August 2018, which was earlier lying dormant. The document was drafted in consultation with relevant stakeholders (federal and provincial / area governments, academia, technical experts) and the Economic Advisory Council (EAC).

The draft 12th Plan was approved by the National Economic Council (NEC) in principle, in May 2019, subject to consultations with provinces and Prime Minister’s Office. Amended draft of 12th Plan after consultations with the provinces is about to be shared with the Prime Minister’s Office prior to publishing.

“Within the ambit of rules and procedures, funds’ release processes have been simplified, ensuring timely release to ministries for their projects. An amount of Rs660 billion against PSDP of Rs675 billion (2018-19) i.e., 98 per cent was authorised for release up to June 30, 2019, as compared to 76 per cent during 2017-18,” the report stated.

“Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) being the most relevant to Ministry of PD&R has been attached with this ministry. Following are recent initiatives: rebasing of price statistics has been completed. Price statistics with new base year 2015-16 will be submitted to Governing Council,” the report added.

“Rebasing of National Accounts is at advanced stage. Labour Force Survey for year 2017-18 has been recently released after a break of 3 years. PBS developed Android-based Price Collection System (TPCS) for end-to-end data collection to increase the credibility in price statistics system of Pakistan,” the report concluded.