APCC to approve development plan exceeding Rs2tr
By Khaleeq Kiani | 5/17/2017 12:00:00 AM
ISLAMABAD: The Annual Plan Coordination Committee (APCC) on Wednesday finalised a development programme of Rs2.158 trillion for the next year, an increase of 29 per cent over the current year`s Rs1.675tr outlay.

This indicates massive allocations by federal and provincial governments for development schemes next year, showing a quest by the competing political parties for winning over voters out of public money ahead of general election next year.

This would, however, be a rare opportunity that the APCC would approve only the development projects. It would neither review performance of macroeconomic indicators (annual plan performance) for the current year, nor would it set these macroeconomic targets for the next fiscal year, something which has been a permanent part of the APCC agenda. This has been caused by the postponement of a meeting of the national accounts committee that was originally called two days ahead ofAPCC meeting.

The meeting to be presided over by Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal would be attended by finance and development ministers of the provinces, governor of Khyber Pal(htunkhwa representing tribal region, the prime minister of Azad Kashmir and chief executive of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Informed sources said the overall size of the public sector development programme (PSDP) for 201718 of the federal government was estimated at Rs1.001tr against Rs800 billion of the current year, an increase of 25pc.

The provincial governments would also surpass all past records, pitching their cumulative annual development plans (ADPs) at Rs1.158tr against Rs875bn allocationsforthe currentyear,arise of 32pc.

The country`s consolidated development expenditure for next year has been estimated at Rs2.158tr, about 29pc higher than the current year.

Sources said a meeting presided over by Mr Iqbal on Tuesday finalised the list of projects with a total cost of Rs862bn, but also requestedthe prime minister with an additional list of projects to increase it to Rs1.001tr to protect some of his key initiatives and make available maximum funds in last fiscal year of the current government.

The additional allocation of Rs138bn was estimated for settlement of internally displaced people of the restive tribal region and Prime Minister`s Youth Programme.

Of the Rs862bn, the federal ministries and divisions would be allocated an amount of Rs280bn against current year`s share of Rs237bn, showing an increase of 18pc.

A major allocation of Rs389bn has been proposed for major corporations like National Highway Authority and Wapda and other power sector projects, which are at the centre of $54bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. This combined head would also stand jacked up by about Rs50bn when compared with current year`s Rs322bn.

Likewise, another major chunk of Rs46bn has been estimated for Prime Minister`s Global SDG Achievement Programme schemes. The amount has more than doubled from current year`sallocation of Rs20bn.

Similarly, special areas like Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and States and Frontier Regions would be given about Rs64bn next year compared with Rs48bn of the current year, showing an increase of 12.5pc. On top of this, another Rs26bn has been allocated for gas schemes.

The sources said the annual plan for next year and review of current year (macroeconomic indicators) would be taken directly to the National Economic Council (NEC) expected to be held with gap of a few days along with a finalised development plan for formal approval.

The NEC is headed by the prime minister and comprises provincial chief ministers, key federal ministers, the AJK prime minister, Gilgit-Baltistan`s chief executive and KP governor.

Under the Constitution, the NEC has to formally approve the country`s annual development programme and macroeconomic framework. The federal cabinet led by the prime minister then clears budgetary proposals for presentation before parliament.