Ministry releases Rs129b for development projects

ISLAMABAD, April 17: Despite financial constraints and disruptions caused by floods last year, the Ministry of Planning has released Rs129 billion for development projects under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the fourth quarter of the year 2022-23.

The Water Resource Division and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) have been given top priority in the PSDP, a news release said on Sunday.

In the last quarter of 2021-22, there was a zero release for the PSDP, which resulted in the government shrinking the PSDP from Rs700 billion to Rs550 billion.

According to the latest data provided by the planning ministry, an amount of Rs129 billion has been released for development projects under the PSDP for the fourth quarter (2022-2023), including Rs27 billion for Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK), Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

An amount of Rs30 billion has been released to the Power Division to speed up projects like the Diamer-Bhasha Dam, the Mohmand Dam, the Kachhi Canal, the Nai Gaj Dam; Rs22 billion for the Ministry of Communications to expedite projects like Khuzdar-Kuchlak Road, dualisation and improvement of Old Bannu Road, and Rs8 billion for the HEC projects.

Similarly, an amount of Rs4 billion has been released for the Ministry of Housing and Works, Rs8 billion for the Ministry of Railway, and Rs5 billion for the Power Division.

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, who has been constantly struggling to cope with the economic challenges, has taken several initiatives for the country’s development, particularly the development of Balochistan which faced devastation in the recent floods, said the statement.

The minister said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, during its last tenure from 2013 to 2018, uplifted the national economy by executing several mega development projects and introducing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – a flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

But unfortunately, Iqbal said the “experiment” of bringing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) into power resulted in the shrinking of the PSDP to Rs500 billion in April 2021.

The planning ministry, he said, is committed to allocating funds for development projects despite financial constraints, and the release of Rs129 billion for the PSDP would be a significant step towards achieving the country’s development goals.

“The ministry aims to prioritise the water resources and the HEC sectors to ensure the smooth implementation of social development initiatives,” he said.

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