Home Opinion Op-Ed Figures speak louder than words – Muhammad Zahid Rifat

Figures speak louder than words – Muhammad Zahid Rifat

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Muhammad Zahid Rifat |

Federal  and provincial budgets, as and when these are presented in the national and provincial legislatures by the respective governments for one or the other particular financial year, mainly comprise of two parts i.e. current or non-development budget for day to day running of the administrative matters and  the development budget for undertaking  works and launching projects for the welfare and well-being of the people and for provision of basic and essential facilities to the people in the rural and urban areas.

The development budget of the Federal Government is called as the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP)  and that of the Provincial Governments of the Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pukhtoonkhwah and Balochistan are known as the Annual Development Programmes (ADPs). The PSDP as such is the integral part of public investment which plays a key role in resources utilization through an efficient and effective implementation of duly listed projects and programmes to achieve targets envisioned in the vision of the federal government at the helm of national affairs in the federal capital Islamabad.

Figures speak louder than words. More details about schemes listed in PSDP and how many of these were expected to be completed by the fiscal year end, some other time, please.

The PSDP, in fact, is the driver of economic growth besides ensuring the equitable socio-economic development in all areas, regions, and sectors throughout the country. The PSDP for financial year 2017-18 along with the federal budget was presented by the then  ruling party  PML(N) in May 2017 as its fifth presentation with lot of pomp and show with an overall size of Rs 2113 billion which was claimed to be as much as 26 per cent  higher than the previous year’s PSDP size of Rs 1675 billion as the highest ever in the history of Pakistan. The largest-ever PSDP size included Rs 1001 billion for the federal government projects and Rs 1112 billion for financing the ADPs of the four provinces.

The PSDP as such was formulated by the then federal government in line with its overall development agenda depicted in seven pillars of Vision 2025 viz achieving higher, sustained and inclusive growth, reducing poverty, investing in human capital, improving infrastructure, ensuring balanced development and achieving food, water and energy  security. Accordingly, ample funds were earmarked in the PSDP 2017-18 for programmes and projects aiming at achieving `Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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The PML(N)’s federal government had stepped down on May 31, 2018 on completion of its stipulated constitutional tenure of five years. But prior to that, it had quite unwarrantly and in  unwanted manner presented its sixth budget also in April 2018 so that the new federal government coming into power after July 25, 2018 election is left with little options to formulate the budgetary proposals for financial year 2018-19 according to its own election manifesto, priorities and policies.

The highest share of the PSDP 2017-18 i.e. Rs 577 billion as such was earmarked for national level infrastructure development since it was regarded as the responsibility of the Federal Government after the 18th Constitutional Amendment. Within infrastructure sector, highest priority was attached to transport and communication sector with overall allocation of Rs 411 billion followed by energy sector Rs 403 billion. For conservation and augmentation of water resources, Rs 38 billion were allocated and physical planning and housing sector Rs 41 billion.

The PSDP as such is the integral part of public investment which plays a key role in resources utilization through an efficient and effective implementation of duly listed projects and programmes to achieve targets envisioned in the vision of the federal government at the helm of national affairs in the federal capital Islamabad.

Since Social sector after the 18th Constitutional Amendment came under the domain of the provinces but still in order to augment the efforts of the provincial governments, an amount of Rs 150 billion was earmarked for health and population, education and SDGs. After the national legislature’ approval of the budget along with the PSDP, it was the responsibility of the Planning Commission to release the allocated funds to the Ministries and Divisions mostly on quarterly basis.

Figures of the quarterly releases of allocated funds to the ministries and divisions were accordingly put on the website of the Planning Commission. Figures for funds released against the allocated budget including foreign aid for financial year 2017-18 which ended on June 30, 2018 are now available  and make interesting reading as to exposing the former ruling party’s claims of priorities for development and allocation of highest ever amount of Rs 1001 billion for financing the PSDP 2017-18 which should have been its last presentation along with the federal budget within its stipulated constitutional and not transcending its limits unnecessarily.

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A total of 1002 projects costing overall Rs 7.9 trillion were as such listed in the PSDP 2017-18 and funded. Out of these  631 were ongoing with total cost of Rs  6.6 trillion on which an estimated toal expenditure of Rs 2.2 billion had been incurred up to June 30, 2017. There were also 371 new projects with estimated total cost of Rs 1.3 trillion including large number of unapproved projects also. Figures were not available as such from the official sources as how many of these were scheduled to completed and were suffering from inordinate delays and cost escalations within the given period.

Ensuring minimum possible mention of the figures, an overall view is presented as to which Ministry/Division was allocated in the budget and how much funds were released by the end of the last financial year 2017-18.

The highest share of  the PSDP 2017-18 i.e. Rs 577 billion as such was earmarked for national level infrastructure development since it was regarded as the responsibility of the Federal Government after the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

Alphabetically speaking, Aviation Division was allocated Rs 4348.768 million and against this funds amounting to Rs 3460.651 million were released, Capital Administration and Development Division released funds amounted to Rs 2658.563 million  against allocated  Rs 5203.442 million, Commerce Division Rs 665 million against Rs 1200 million,  Communications Division (other than National Highway Authority NHA) Rs 8656.459 million against  Rs 13660.398 million, Defence Production Division Rs  1787.200 million against Rs 4468.000 million,Higher Education Commission  Rs 26623.082 million against  Rs  35662.891 million, Housing and Works Division Rs 7934.198 million against Rs  10993.984 million, Industries and Production Division Rs 1030.763 million against Rs  2737.270 million, Information and Broadcasting Division Rs 213.909 million against Rs 811.789 million, Inter-Provincial Coordination Division Rs 1192.738 against Rs 3044. 157 million, Human Rights Division Rs  91.550 million against  Rs 306.000 million, Interior Division Rs 12149.529 million against Rs 15685.785 million, National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination Division Rs 18845.418 million against Rs  48701.480 million, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Rs 12616.568 million against Rs  15085. Planning, Development and Reform Division Rs 2110.583 million against Rs  8541.404 million, Ports and Shipping Division Rs 1772.081 million against Rs 12557.670 million. Railways Division Rs  19384.857 million against Rs 42900.000 million, Science and Technological Research Division Rs 12027.716 million  against Rs 2538.727 million, Textile Industry Division Rs 8.000 million against Rs 217.500 million, WAPDA (Power) Rs 47500.715 million against Rs 60909.361 million, Soecial Federal Development Programme Rs  28313.600 million against Rs 40000.000 million, Clean Drinking Water for All Rs 875.946 million, Special Provision for Completion of CPEC Projects Rs NIL against Rs 5000.000 million, Prime Minister ‘s Youth & Hunarmand Programme Rs 13727.796 million against Rs 20000.000 million and Gas Infrastructure Development Cess Rs NIL against Rs 25000.000 million.

On the whole, funds releases for financial year 2017-18  amounted to Rs 795997.million against much triumphed figures of Rs  1001000.000 million. Figures speak louder than words. More details about schemes listed in PSDP and how many of these were expected to be completed by the fiscal year end, some other time, please.

The writer is Lahore-based Freelance Journalist, Columnist, and retired Deputy Controller (News) Radio Pakistan Islamabad. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.


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