ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives has revised its strategy to release development budget for the 4th quarter of CFY 2021-22 aimed at using funds on actual basis after due verification of Accountant General of Pakistan (AGP), well informed sources told Business Recorder.
This has been conveyed by Joint Chief Economist, Mushtaq Ahmed Raja, in a letter to all the Ministries/ Divisions/ Agencies, written on the basis of an Office Memorandum of Finance Ministry. The Joint Chief Economist has issued the following guidelines: (i) M/o PD&SI shall fully utilize already released funds for approved PSDP projects of CFY 2021-22; (ii) the requirement of funds during the 4th quarter may be considered on the actual requirements and utilization basis after verifying expenditure/ utilization duly reconciled with AGPR, its sub-office/ Accounts Offices, etc.; and (iii) M/o PD&SI may try to bridge the gaps through the mode of re-appropriation of funds as far as possible before issuing further release.
He maintained that Finance Division has also conveyed approval of Federal Government (Cabinet) to revise PSDP 2021-22 from Rs 900 to Rs 700 billion including Rs 100 billion foreign aid. The M/o PD&SI on March 3l, 2022 has already circulated the Ministry-wise revised rupee allocation of Rs 600 billion to all concerned and also requested to furnish project-wise revised rupee allocation, accordingly.
The M/o PD&SI has requested Ministries/ Divisions/ Agencies (concerned) to adhere to the provisions of revised strategy for release of development budget for the 4th quarter issued by the Finance Division. The request for authorization of remaining balance of revised rupee allocation would only be considered on fulfilment of the provisions notified by Finance Division.
According to sources, M/o PD&SI has withdrawn excess authorization of Rs 9.357 billion to seven Ministries that include Power Division, Planning Division, Law and Justice Division, Science and Technological Research Division, Inter-Provincial Coordination Division, SUPARCO and Maritime Affairs Division.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Jahanzeb Khan has issued instructions regarding presenting projects in the CDWP meetings.
According to Deputy Chairman, it has been noted that during CDWP proceedings the issues that crop up should have been discussed and clarified in pre-CDWP meetings. Further alignment of project with existing rules and policy objectives; project objectives, outputs and outcomes are not well defined; techno-economic feasibility and financial viability as important considerations remain unaddressed; avoiding duplications, learning from best practices, building synergies, forging partnerships, and exploring private investment, are all important components that need to be carefully weighed and discussed in the pre-CDWP meetings.
Taking into account different aspects, following instructions need to be followed by respective Members of Planning Commission while presenting projects to CDWP: (i) ensure suitability and alignment of the project with the federal roles/ mandate and responsibilities;(ii) pre-CDWP meetings should be led by the concerned Member and need to be more meaningful. Using Planning Commission’s convening power, consultations should be held with all concerned stakeholders.
Need to think of institutions linked to the projects being appraised to bring value to the discussion. Collaborations should be built where required. Invite all stakeholders in pre-CDWP to provide feedback ;( iii) all issues requiring coordination and response from any ministries/ line departments/ agencies should be managed before presenting to the project CDWP meeting;(iv) all details outlined in the working paper complete should be duly filled in; (v) ensure that there is no duplication with ongoing or completed projects; (vi) if the project is presented again (modification, revision or re-submission) for CDWP approval, the previous CDWP minutes on the project should be carefully reviewed and all queries should be addressed with compliance task prior to the CDWP meeting; (vii) projects should be presented for review in CDWP meeting, only with approval of the concerned Members.
CDWP should not be a forum where questions are being raised on projects. It should be presented only, if Members are confident about the utility of the project and alignment with national objectives/ priorities; (viii) the project should clearly elaborate linkages with existing policy frameworks, SDGs indicators, federal roles and responsibilities (linkages with provincial policies, strategies and plans). Similarly, it should cater the gaps that the projects will aim to fill and how it will lead to economic growth; (ix) where required, economic and financial viability of the project should be calculated and presented; and (x) in case of financial support projects from donors (loan), the prior actions, results, targets and indicators should be clearly defined, challenging and tangible.
Deputy Chairman has expressed the hope that all Members will contribute to all projects, irrespective of the areas that these projects fall under. Almost all projects have cross cutting issues such as public private partnerships, infrastructure, social dimensions, environmental and climate change considerations. Members’ feedback would help strengthen the projects and integrate cross cutting issues/ areas.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022