The Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives in Pakistan, Professor Ahsan Iqbal, announced that Govt approved the Rs 1100 bln development budget for the next fiscal year.
Out of this budget, Rs 950 billion will be allocated to the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP 2023-24), and Rs 150 billion will be utilized through public-private partnerships for various development projects.
Initially, the Finance Ministry had proposed a budget of Rs 700 billion for the PSDP, which was deemed insufficient. A written request was made to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to increase the development budget, and he approved the allocation of Rs 1,100 billion. The minister highlighted that this reflects the government’s priority for national development and emphasized the need for economic growth.
The minister also mentioned the economic difficulties faced by the country, which he attributed to the failed policies of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. He stated that the PTI government allowed a significant import of luxury items, leading to a trade deficit of $50 billion and a severe economic crisis. However, he expressed optimism that the country has been steered out of the crisis through corrective measures and effective management of imports.
The Annual Plan Coordination Committee (APCC) has set growth targets for various sectors in the next fiscal year. These include 3.5% growth targets for GDP and agriculture, 4.3% for manufacturing, and 3.6% for services. The government aims to reduce the inflation rate from 29.2% to 21%, increase national savings from 12.5% to 13.4%, achieve exports of over $30 billion, and manage imports worth $58.7 billion. They also plan to reduce the trade deficit and focus on economic revival.
The minister emphasized the government’s pursuit of the five Es framework: Exports, E-Pakistan, Equity, Energy, and Environment, which are crucial for national development and stabilizing the economy. The government intends to prioritize ongoing projects to reduce the burden of pending development schemes.