Planning Commission apprises Prime Minister of development strategy

ISLAMABAD: In pursuance of the development policy of the Government, Planning and Development Division has identified the ongoing priority projects in the current PSDP, encompassing communication and vertical projects of health, education and civic amenities in big cities.  This was stated by the Deputy Chairman Planning Commission,Dr Nadim-ul-Haq and Secretary Planning Division,Javed Mehmood, in a briefing given by them to the Prime Minister here on Friday.He said these projects with positive social impact, entailing job opportunities and promoting regional balanced development were essence of the development strategy of the government.

The Prime Minister recalled on this occasion that he directed the Planning Commission to concentrate on the completion of projects with limited resources to ensure timely benefits to the people of Pakistan.The Prime Minister expressed his satisfaction that this aspect had been taken care of and for the first time 94 pc of PSDP funds have been reserved for the on-going projects and only 6 pc for the new schemes.The Prime Minister said that during the NEC meeting held in May this year, he directed the Planning Commission to sit with the Balochistan Government and consider its demands for allocation of more funds.The Federal Government, he added, approved additional Rs. 2.5 billion for the province particularly for Quetta Water Supply Scheme.

The Prime Minister also asked the Planning Commission to get regular inputs of the provincial governments while undertaking the projects which have bearings on the lives of the people of the respective provinces.The Deputy Chairman Planning Commission and Secretary Planning Division said that socio-economic uplift of the less-developed areas was the key objective of the government, adding that under the special development packages for such areas like Dera Bugti, Kohlu, Layari and Southern Punjab, a number of projects in the fields of education, health, water supply, sanitation and roads were being executed.To address the civic problems of the big cities like Karachi, Hyderabad, Quetta, Peshawar and others, various development schemes are under different phases of implementation and the Federal Government is providing funds for the provincial projects in these cities.

The Prime Minister asked the Planning Commission and the Ministry of Finance to help the provincial governments in enhancing their capacity for judicious utilization of funds, which have become available to them after the 7th National Finance Award.The Prime Minister said that in view of the particular situation in FATA, the government had approved additional Rs 5 billion over and above already allocated amount of Rs 10 billion in the budget 2011-12.The Prime Minister said that after the 18th Constitutional Amendment, he assured the provinces in a meeting held in April this year that despite the devolution, funds for vertical projects of health and population welfare in the provinces would be financed by the Federal Government.

The Prime Minister urged the Planning Commission and the Ministry of Finance to identify the completed projects well in advance so that the services of media could be used to apprise the people about such projects meant to improve the quality of their lives.The Prime Minister directed that the mechanism should be evolved in the Planning Commission to maintain a data base of such projects and also evaluate these projects on regular basis.He said that it was unfortunate that projects were completed by spending huge public money but they were not put to use to their full capacity or in some cases are not used at all.

This is a sheer wastage of public money which is inexcusable, the Prime Minister said.The Prime Minister directed the Ministry of Finance to review its procedure to facilitate the release of PSDP funds because delay in its disbursement affects the pace of the completion of the projects besides overrunning the cost.Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafiz Shaikh, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr Nadim ul Haq, Secretary Finance, Secretary Planning Division, Secretary Communications, Chairman National Highway Authority and senior officials were also present during the meeting. – APP