Pakistan has achieved irreversible economic stability: PM


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Thursday said that Pakistan had achieved irreversible economic stability and doubled the developmental budget in the past three years.

The prime minister, who visited the Planning Commission, was briefed by Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Professor Ahsan Iqbal on the progress of various development projects in the country under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and current PSDP.

“Our focus is on implementing energy and other infrastructure projects at the earliest,” the prime minister said, according to a statement of the PM House

He said investment and economic growth was linked with successful implementation of these projects.

The PM approved proposed reforms for timely completion of the development projects including creation of Project Management Units (PMUs) in key ministries undertaking these projects.

He directed for effective monitoring and evaluation of the required allocations against the release of funds by the Ministry of Finance to gauge the actual progress on the ground and fix the responsibility of delay, if any, on the executing ministries and departments.

“We cannot tolerate delays in the implementation of these projects,” the Prime Minister said and stressed that transparency and efficiency must go hand-in-hand.

Nawaz Sharif also directed that he should be kept updated on the execution of projects under the PSDP on weekly basis and made it specifically clear that he would not compromise on the completion timelines of the projects.

Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar briefed meeting on the revenue cycle of PSDP releases.

The prime minister directed for timely releases of allocations for power and communication sectors.

Ahsan Iqbal informed the meeting that for the first time in several years, there was no lack in releases to the provinces under the PSDP in terms of gap. The provincial government of Balochistan has expressed its gratitude for release of allocations without any gap for the last two years, the minister informed.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the development agenda of the present government would revolutionise the lives of the people of Pakistan as the government was determined to deliver and serve the people.

Ministries and Divisions need to ensure utmost transparency in the execution of the development projects and enhance their capacities to realise the development agenda of the government.

The PM said that the ministries should be accountable for timely and cost efficient execution of development projects and that he would personally monitor the performance of the ministries on monthly basis.

He issued directions for revision of Management Professional Pay Scales in terms of high salary incentives and allowing civil servants to compete for positions with other management professionals.

Lauding the Chinese support in the shape of CPEC, the Prime Minister said that the people and government of Pakistan were extremely grateful to the Chinese leadership.

`It is a huge gesture that China is initiating numerous projects and funding development units across the country on its own. Without China’s support, we could not have initiated energy projects; what we need at the moment is to remove the bottlenecks and spend our public sector resources efficiently”, the Prime Minister emphasized.

He directed to limit the projects under the PSDP to the spending capacity of the government and devise a mechanism for holding the Ministries and Divisions answerable for their performance by today, positively.

`The allocations for projects which are cost intensive should be made after a thorough deliberation and their progress must be reviewed continuously’, the Prime Minister stressed.

He said the country was facing acute shortage of electricity and it should be given priority to meet our requirements simultaneously with the long term development agenda.

The Planning Minister also briefed the Prime Minister on the proposed allocations for the PSDP 2016-17 and said that the estimates under the next PSDP have been made to accomplish the development agenda of the present government.

The minister proposed to enhance the allocations for the next year PSDP appropriately to accommodate government’s initiatives, undertake projects on EPC mode, and completion of the CPEC and energy projects on time.

Ahsan Iqbal said that, unlike the previous governments, the allocation for PSDP has been increased significantly and monitoring mechanism was made effective to accrue the benefits of infrastructure development in the short as well as long term.

Chairman National Highway Authority (NHA) briefed the Prime Minister on the pace of the ongoing as well as future projects of road networks across different parts of the country and said that the portfolio of the National Highway Authority has significantly been raised from Rs 45 billion to Rs 750 billion for the first time in the history of the country.

Appreciating, the speedy and cost effective work being done by NHA, the Prime Minister directed for completing all Motorway projects within the next two years.

Chairman NHA apprised the Prime Minister that work on the road projects under the Western Corridor of the CPEC and long neglected dualization of the Peshawar-D.I. Khan section of the Indus Highway was being carried simultaneously with completion of the motorways from Peshawar to Karachi.

The Prime Minister said that completion of communication networks under the Western Corridor of the CPEC was a priority and would be completed before June, 2018.