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ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Finance Minister, Dr Shamshad Akhtar, has asked the caretaker provincial governments to ensure meeting revenue and expenditure targets for the ongoing fiscal year so that the primary and budget deficits targets can be achieved.

The caretaker finance minister, while holding a video link meeting with the provincial finance ministers, stated that there is a huge potential for rationalising the public expenditure arrangements between the federal and provincial governments for promoting efficiency and effectiveness of public expenditure, as well as prioritisation for speedy and smooth implementation of the projects under public sector development programs (PSDP).

The meeting recommended that provinces bring forward prioritisation of various projects funded by the federal government, which falls under the ambit of the provincial subjects following the devolution of power.

Provincial nature PSDP projects: Centre decides to make it mandatory for provinces to share 50pc cost

The meeting was aimed at reviewing spending patterns of the PSDP, controlling prices of essential commodities, enhancing the quality of services in education and healthcare sectors, and providing relief to the general public by strengthening the social safety nets.

Dr Shamshad said the provinces are the interface with the public and have a major role to play in improving social services, as well as, ensuring food security and stabilising prices by minimising the gap between the wholesale and retail prices of essential commodities.

Dr Shamshad added that policy and fiscal coordination between the federal and provincial governments is pivotal for economic prosperity and sustainable growth.

The caretaker finance minister underlined that the corrective measures in this regard would not only result in substantive savings but would also contribute to improving the effectiveness and implementation of the projects in the priority sectors of education and health.

The provinces assured that efforts are under way to control prices and improve the quality of service in the healthcare and education sectors and streamline financial discipline to meet budgetary targets.

The meeting was attended by the chief minister Sindh, finance ministers of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Balochistan, the federal and provincial finance secretaries, the federal secretary of planning, as well as, senior government officials.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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