ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday presided over a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) in Islamabad, which reviewed the state of the economy during the current Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-20 and the outlook for FY 2020-21.
The NEC reviewed, in detail, the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) for FY 2019-20 and the proposed development outlay for FY 2020-21.
It was informed that this is the first time that the PSDP includes only those projects that have already been approved by the relevant forums which are strictly in accordance with the best practices of planning.
This will ensure fast implementation of the PSDP projects and optimum utilization will be ensured leading to economic growth.
While reviewing the progress of PSDP 2019-20, it was noted that various initiatives taken by the federal government have contributed towards expediting the development process by the timely implementation of critical development schemes.
These initiatives include among others enhancing the sanctioning powers of Departmental Development Working Party (DDWP) from Rs 60 million to Rs 2 billion, Central Development Working Party (CDWP) from Rs 3 billion to Rs 10 billion and ECNEC above Rs 10 billion, quarterly authorizations without originating demand, real-time information on expenditures through SAP system and establishment of Public-Private Partnership Authorities to facilitate the involvement of private sector in complementing the development process.
It was informed that 149 projects costing Rs 827 billion would complete /expected to complete by June 30, 2020.
The meeting was informed that PSDP projects for FY 2020-21 are especially focusing on the development of less-developed areas of the Country including Balochistan, merged areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir.
Later, the NEC approved the National Development Outlay 2020-21 and the Federal PSDP.
The meeting also approved the constitution of NEC Sub-Committee to provide strategic guidance, maintain oversight, and ensure inter-provincial coordination on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
It was noted during the meeting that the upward trajectory of the economy, made possible after huge efforts of the present government, was severely affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The meeting appreciated the steps taken by the government for the revival of the economy especially protecting the poor segments of society from the adverse impacts of lockdown.
The meeting also approved the GDP growth target along with sectoral growth projections of agriculture, industry, and services for FY 2020-21.
The Macroeconomic Framework for the proposed Annual Plan 2020-21 was also approved by the NEC.
In his remarks at the meeting, the prime minister said that in wake of Coronavirus pandemic, the government was prioritizing those sectors which promised job opportunities to the youth, agriculture sector, and up-gradation of the public health system in the country.
The prime minister emphasized upon the need for ensuring close and seamless coordination between the federal and provincial governments during the finalization and implementation of the development projects.
Imran Khan also underscored the need for employing technology to monitor the progress of the ongoing projects.
In this context, the prime minister stressed upon the need for ensuring public participation in the development process through the provision of real-time information and getting their feedback on the implementation status of the projects.
The prime minister directed that biannual meeting of the National Economic Council be ensured to review the progress of PSDP projects.