In a bid to satisfy unhappy assembly members and meet national needs, the federal government has allocated almost two-third of the budget on infrastructure projects.

The National Economic Council (NEC) on Monday approved Rs2.1 trillion national development outlay, which is higher by Rs535 billion or one-third over this year’s original budget.

There seems to be a clear shift in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) strategy as it is following the footsteps of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) which used to allocate a sizeable sum for development projects for its parliamentarians.

All four provinces will spend Rs1.235 trillion from their own resources while the federal government has allocated Rs900 billion for the federal Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP). The proposed federal PSDP is higher by Rs250 billion or 38% over this year’s original budget of Rs650 billion.

According to the Ministry of Planning summary for the NEC, a total of Rs565 billion for the infrastructure sector which is 63% of total PSDP. For the next financial year, only Rs5 billion have been allocated for COVID-19 but parliamentary schemes will be given Rs68 billion. The agriculture sector has been given Rs12 billion or 1.3% of the budget.

Furthermore, the summary showed that water sector allocation stood at Rs91billion or 10% as per commitment made under the National Water Policy. The energy sector’s proposed allocation is Rs118 billion or 13% of the total size. The physical planning & housing sector will get Rs49 billion ie 5.5% of the total size.

The Rs900 billion federal PSDP was equal to just 60% that the ministries had demanded for development activities for this fiscal year. The Ministry of Planning informed the NEC that ministries sought an allocation of Rs1.5 trillion. However, in its APCC summary, the planning ministry had showed demand at Rs2.5 trillion.

The government has approved 72% or Rs648 billion resources for ongoing projects and 28% new approved schemes.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah complained that Sindh had been given only Rs1.5 billion while Punjab had been allocated Rs44 billion for provincial projects that are financed by the federal government.

Prime Minister Imran Khan maintained that no discrimination was meted out to Sindh in allocation of resources.

In the next year financial plan, the government has included three special packages worth Rs1.8 trillion but has allocated just Rs65 billion hinting that these political mileage projects will take years to complete.

The government has also devised a development program for southern Balochistan after detailed deliberations with the military. Almost 199 projects will be delivered which will cost around Rs601 billion but an allocation of just Rs20 billion has been made in the PSDP.

For the Karachi Transformation Plan of Rs739.2 billion, the government has proposed Rs25.4 billion in PSDP 2021-22.

For Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) merged districts, the government has increased allocation for next financial year to Rs54 billion. For Ten Billion Tsunami Programme, Rs14 billion has been proposed. In addition to this Rs68 billion have been proposed for parliamentarian projects. An amount Rs19.5 billion has been earmarked for new projects in PSDP 2021-22 in addition to financing the ongoing portfolio.

A total of 107 projects will be executed in 14 districts of Sindh which will cost around Rs444 billion. The federal PDSP will fund 50 of these projects which will cost Rs134 billion while 50 will be via non-PDSP funds which will cost Rs74 billion.

The Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan governments will get Rs70 billion, also higher by Rs17.6 billion or 33.6%. The health ministry will get Rs21.7 billion –higher by Rs7 billion or nearly 50%.

The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission has been allocated Rs27 billion or Rs3.7 billion higher than this fiscal year.

The Ministry of Finance has been given Rs123.1 billion, largely for financing provincial projects, which is higher by Rs56 billion or 85% over this year. The Higher Education Commission will get Rs42.5 billion – up by Rs13 billion or 44%.

The water resources ministry will get Rs103 billion – up by Rs21.7 billion or 16%. The Diamer-Bhasha dam will get Rs15.5 billion for construction and another Rs7 billion for land acquisition and resettlement of the affected population. Mohmand dam has been given only Rs5.5 billion for the next fiscal year.

The Pakistan Railways has been given Rs30 billion – also higher by Rs6 billion or 25%. But the Mainline-I project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been given mere Rs6.2 billion for the next fiscal year, indicating that the PTI government does not have a plan to start work on the strategically important project even during fourth year in power.

The National Highway Authority (NHA) budget has been reduced by Rs5 billion to Rs113.8 billion. The National Transmission & Despatch Company (NTDC) will receive Rs69.5 billion – higher by Rs30 billion or 75%.

The Covid-19 budget has been drastically reduced from Rs70 billion to just Rs5 billion which is a reduction of almost 93%.

The story was filed by the News Desk.
The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.

The story was filed by the News Desk. The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.

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