MoF will ask new government to review projects
ISLAMABAD (March 09 2008): The Finance Ministry will recommend to the new government to review 'Juma bazaar of projects' initiated by the Planning Commission without keeping in view their benefits and financial constraints, reliable sources told Business Recorder.
The sources said that the Planning Commission, which has rehired almost all the retired officers was backing those projects which were not of national importance but they do not know if the government would be in a position to start these schemes.
The sources said that the new government would be asked to shelve some projects that the Finance Ministry considers unnecessary, that have been recommended by the Planning Commission and the Higher Education Commission including construction of eight new universities, costing Rs 40 billion each.
The federal government has suffered a budget deficit of Rs 356.321 billion during the first half (July-December) of FY08 against whole year's deficit estimate of Rs 399 billion.
The government was forced to finance through borrowing Rs 68.029 billion from external resources and Rs 288.292 billion from local institutions. On February 4, President Pervez Musharraf had directed the Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission to prepare a list of non-starter development projects as well as those on which initial work was in progress.
When this correspondent contacted at least five or six officials of the Planning Commission, the Finance Ministry and the Water and Power Ministry, to have their views that which projects were being axed in the light of the President's directives, the officials said that they did not receive any list from the Planning Commission so far.
The sources said that Public Sector Development Programme utilisation of Rs 109.5 billion during July-December, 2007-08 has been achieved against Rs 87.5 billion for the same period last year showing 37 percent of utilisation against 35 percent in the same period last year.
The strategy focused on saving financial resources without hurting or slowing down the pace of projects. The strategy indicated that the new projects would not be included in PSDP 2007-08. Budgeted projects, not yet started, would remain on hold during the second half of the current fiscal year. Expenditure to be incurred during May-June, 2008 on slow moving projects may be delayed until July-August, 2008.
Business Recorder [Pakistan's First Financial Daily]