In Budget 2021-22, the government grants Rs. 2.1 trillion to development projects:Asad Umar

ByShehryar Makhdoom
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Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Planning and Development, said that the National Economic Council (NEC) has authorised a Rs. 2.10 trillion allocation for the country's development programme.This included Rs. 87 billion for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for 2021-22, a 36.4 percent increase above Rs. 1,527 billion for 2020-21.

During his briefing on the allocations for the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP), Minister Umar, flanked by the Chairman of the CPEC Authority, Asim Saleem Bajwa, stated that the allocation for the federal development budget is Rs. 900 billion for 2021-22, compared to Rs. 650 billion for 2020-21, and the allocation for the provincial development budget is Rs. 1,202 billion for 2021-22, compared to Rs. 867 billion for 2020-21.

Budgets for Provincial Development

Punjab's development budget is Rs. 500 billion for 2021-22, compared to Rs. 310 billion for 2020-21; Sindh's budget is Rs. 321 billion, compared to Rs. 194 billion; Balochistan's budget is Rs. 133 billion, compared to Rs. 89 billion; and Khyber-budget Pakhtunkhwa's is Rs. 248 billion, compared to Rs. 274 billion.

Infrastructure & Energy

Minister Umar stated that 56 percent of the total estimated funds were given for energy and transportation projects in 2016-17, and that this figure has been cut to 40 percent in 2021-22.

He stated that cutting the PSDP does not mean that development activity in the road transport and communication sector will be diminished, but that additional roads would be built and new funding sources, such as public-private partnerships, will be used.

Collaboration between the public and private sectors

Minister Umar stated that the main focus is on PPP projects, including the clearance of 14 high-impact PPP agreements totaling Rs. 978 billion, which are scheduled to take place between April and October 2021. The Sialkot-Kharian Motorway, the Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway, the Karachi-Quetta-Chaman Road, the Karachi Circular Railway, the Karachi-Pipri Freight Corridor, and Railway Hospitals are among the important projects.

Hydropower Initiatives

The investment in the construction of large dams and a water conservation system as part of the National Water Policy commitment, a new cultivable command area of 100,000 acres developed during 2020-21, with another 200,000 acres to be added over the next two years, Diamer–Bhasha, Mohmand, and Dasu (Rs. 84.5 billion), K-IV, Nai Gaj Dam, Rainee Canal, and Small Storage Dams in Sindh (Rs. 25 billion) (Rs. 3.65 billion).

Other Development Initiatives

According to Minister Umar, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) was granted 2.7 percent of the budget in 2016-17, which has now been boosted to 4.9 percent.

According to the minister, the HEC funding has been increased to Rs. 44 billion, which means that 105 institutions would benefit from 120 projects and scholarship schemes worth around Rs. 5 billion, which would assist over 6,000 scholars and staff members.

CPEC

Minister Umar added that the PSDP has allocated Rs. 87 billion to the CPEC projects. Additionally, these include projects to facilitate transportation and communication (known as the CPEC Transport and Communication initiatives, valued at approximately Rs. 78 billion), work to improve the country's Central alignment (also known as the CPEC SEZ projects, including Dhabeji, Rashakai, Faisalabad, and Bostan), and development of CPEC industrial zones (such as Dhabeji, Rashakai, Faisalabad, and Bostan) (Rs. 7 billion).Asim Saleem Bajwa, Chairman of the CPEC Authority, stated that CPEC development projects have been incorporated into the national yearly plan.

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