All PSDP projects available on website for scrutiny

Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal.—APP/File

ISLAMABAD: The recent fuel crisis was one of the main topics of discussion at Friday’s advisory committee meeting at the Planning Commission, where Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal observed that one of the main causes of this pandemonium was institutional inefficiency at different levels.

He described the crisis as unfortunate, but said it should not distract us from the positive growth which the country had been seeing in different sectors.

The Planning Commission is already working to revamp the public sector by enhancing the capacity of its human resource, with the government concentrating on an agenda of reform, aimed at restoring quality and building new capacities within public sector organisations, he said.

Also read: Govt may cut PSDP by Rs258bn to meet fiscal deficit ceiling

While civilian institutions suffer and are weakened during martial law regimes, democratic governments have to deal with complex challenges in their aftermath, he remarked.

Mr Iqbal revealed that the Planning Commission was moving towards an open data regime and was working to make available for public scrutiny all details regarding Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) projects on a website.

The advisory committee also discussed the monitoring and evaluation processes, which are in place at the Planning Commission for public sector development projects.

The minister said that during the last year, the commission had rationalised PSDP projects to the total cost of Rs490 billion, which was almost equivalent to the total allocation for PSDP in a year. He blamed this on negligence and a lack of capacity in the ministries and divisions concerned for presenting poor project estimates.

Commenting on the government’s selective approach towards PSDP projects, he said the federal government was no longer investing in the areas that fell within the purview of provincial governments after the passage of the 18th amendment. However, the federal government was still committed to including projects of strategic and national importance in the PSDP, he said.

He referred to initiatives such as the National Curriculum Council and the National Examination System as examples of how the federal government was working to promote national integration and cohesion. “Public funds earmarked for development ought to be spent transparently to create highest value, as we are answerable to the people of Pakistan,” he added.

“We do not accept grants for projects in the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) meeting that do not conform to our national economic and development agenda, envisaged in Vision 2025”, Mr Iqbal said.

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