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APCC all set to recommend Rs20bn more for development projects

With the proposed outlay of Rs825 billion for federal and provincial development projects, the Annual Plan Coordination Committee (APCC) is all set to recommend an increased size of the federal share of development outlay by Rs20 billion from Rs350 billion to Rs370 billion in the upcoming budget 2012/13 to accommodate projects such as “Safe city” for federal capital.

According to the working paper prepared for APCC and available with The News, against the indicated size of Rs350 billion for 2012/13, the ministries and divisions have demanded Rs750 billion as the National Highway Authority (NHA) demanded Rs111 billion, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) Rs53 billion, power sector and Wapda Rs191 billion, water sector Rs153 billion and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has demanded Rs220 billion.

The recommendation of APCC would finally be approved by the National Economic Council (NEC) under chairmanship of the prime minister to finalise development outlay and macroeconomic targets for 2012/13.

The new schemes for capacity-building or for construction of houses were deleted from the public sector development programme (PSDP) list, it said.

Out of Rs350 billion share for the federal public sector development programme (PSDP) with foreign assistance of Rs90 billion, the allocation for discretionary funds in the name of undertaking development schemes by the prime minister, as well as for parliamentarians is proposed at Rs27 billion under the Peoples Work Programme I and II.

According to the document, for ministries and divisions, the PSDP size has been proposed at Rs180.252 billion, including corporations such as NHA, Wapda and the power sector Rs98 billion, special areas Rs34 billion, PWP-I and II Rs27 billion and Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) Rs10 billion in the next budget.

The APPC, scheduled to meet on May 2, with deputy chairman Planning Commission in the chair, is all set to recommend an outlay of Rs825 billion, including federal share of Rs350 billion and provincial development programmes of Rs475 billion for the budget 2012/13, according to the document.

To justify increased demand of Rs20 billion, the working paper said that the Defence Production Division requires additional funding of Rs1.7 billion for ship-lifting project, Ministry of Interior Rs2 billion to accommodate foreign aid of safe city project, Planning and Development Division Rs2 billion for block allocation for devolved and priority projects, Ministry of Railways Rs12 billion for new essential projects, AJK Rs2 billion and Gilgit-Baltistan Rs1 billion for their annual development programmes.

The working paper said that the ministries and divisions were pressed during the priorities committees meeting to remain within the indicative budget ceiling (IBC) and allocate sufficient funds to some priority areas for accomplishing projects on time.

For Diamer-Bhasha Dam, at least Rs22 billion has been proposed during 2012/13 for land acquisition. The Ministry of Water and Power, however, has demanded Rs42 billion for this purpose and the balance may be provided by Wapda from its own resources, it said.

To complete Mangla raising project and impound water during next rainy season, Rs6 billion has been proposed, Rs32 billion is proposed for Chashma nuclear (C-3 and C-4) of PAEC.

The working paper revealed that there are certain new projects proposed to be initiated during 2012/13 as in Balochistan, Zhob-Mughalbot (N-50) and Qilla Saifullah-Loralai-Wagum (N-70) will be started at a cost of Rs13 billion. Pakistan Railways will start mechanisation of tract maintenance projects, costing Rs48 billion and doubling of new tracks will start from Shahdara to Lalamusa and from Shahdara to Faisalabad at a cost of Rs25 billion.

Keeping in view the experience of 2011/12, it was ensured that the foreign assistance is not underestimated. In total the PSDP size of Rs350 billion, foreign assistance has been estimated at Rs90.8 billion. New unapproved schemes were deleted. The development schemes of capacity-building, which were reviewed by the deputy chairman Planning Commission and decided to close by June 2012 were deleted.

The Planning and Development Division had already deleted 14 such projects from the PSDP. A new PC-1 on capacity-building is in the process of approval, which will cater to the requirements of other ministries and divisions also. The schemes, which were devolved to provinces and included by sponsoring ministries’ were also deleted.

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