Rs1,100 billion proposed for development schemes in budget

ISLAMABAD:The government on Saturday decided to allocate Rs1,100 billion for development projects in the upcoming budget for the financial year 2023-24.

According to the PUBLIC SECTOR DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (PSDP), Rs359 billion have been proposed for the rehabilitation of flood-affected people of Sindh and Balochistan and for the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure in these areas.

The document reveals that a budget of Rs102 billion has been suggested for 101 power projects.

Similarly, Rs12 billion have been proposed for two coal power plants in Jamshoro of 600 megawatts each.

Likewise, there is a proposal to earmark Rs12.5 billion for the Sukhi Kinari power plant; Rs156.4 billion for the transport sector; Rs167 billion for 82 water projects; Rs20 billion for 38 health schemes, and Rs45 billion for 152 Higher Education Commission (HEC) projects.

Govt sets GDP growth target at 3.5% for FY24

The government on Friday set the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth target for the fiscal year 2023-24 at 3.5 percent, with sectoral growth of 3.5 percent in agriculture; 3.4 percent in industrial; and 3.6 percent in services.

This was informed in the meeting of Annual Plan Coordination Committee (APCC) chaired by Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal in Islamabad, said a press release.

The chief economist presented an economic outlook for 2023-24 in the meeting, saying that it shall result in an orderly rebalancing between the economic growth, and current and fiscal account balances.

However, he also raised caution about the global slowdown, increased interest in developed countries, and elevated commodity prices that may hinder the economic plans.

The minister highlighted that the government inherited the economy facing a number of challenges on external and internal fronts causing massive fiscal constraints.

Therefore, he advised the provincial governments and Federal Ministries/Divisions to use caution and efficiency in devising their development projects.

He also informed participants that the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives had worked out a 5Es strategy (Exports, E-Pakistan, Environment, Energy, Equity), which should serve as a guiding post for designing our development program.

He added that Annual Plan 2023-24 and Public Sector Development Plan (PSDP) 2023-24 shall focus on prioritizing projects at the advanced stage and token allocation should also be avoided

Chief Economist apprised participants about economic performance achieved during fiscal year 2022-23 and growth projections for fiscal year 2023-24.

He said that during 2022-23, due to high inflation, caused by unfavorable external environment, floods and import compression measures, only marginal economic growth was recorded. Lastly, he highlighted significant improvement in fiscal and current account balances, which he termed as a positive sign for revival of growth during 2023-24.

The meeting was attended by officials of the provincial governments, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), and Federal Ministries/Divisions.