–Total federal development budget allocation increases to Rs701bn
ISLAMABAD: The Finance Ministry on Monday evening allocated additional Rs26 billion for the development of erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Pakistan Today has learnt.
Sources told this scribe that the decision was taken by the Prime Minister Office at the eleventh hour and the following suit to the directives, the Finance Ministry added more allocations for FATA despite that fact that the total outlay of the federal development budget for the upcoming fiscal year had already been revealed. With the additional Rs26 billion, the total allocation for the merged districts will now be Rs152 billion.
The additional allocation has increased the total development budget outlay to Rs701 billion from the Rs675 billion that the government had announced recently. The ruling party had announced that the merged districts would get an increased allocation in the upcoming budget while the other provinces would get decreased allocations to facilitate the development of the tribal areas.
Previously, erstwhile FATA was allocated Rs22 billion for development in addition to the allocation of Rs24.5 billion. Besides, in order to bring the tribal areas into the mainstream, a 10-year FATA development plan with a total outlay of Rs100 billion was also approved recently. During the ongoing fiscal year, Rs10 billion were also proposed to be provided to erstwhile FATA.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan had underscored the need for the upcoming budget to help in creating job opportunities for the youth of erstwhile FATA who have “made sacrifices for Pakistan”. He said this while chairing a meeting his economic team. The meeting was attended by Adviser on Finance Hafeez Shaikh, Adviser on Trade and Commerce Abdul Razzaq Dawood and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Shabbar Zaidi.
The meeting also reviewed the strategy to counter possible protests by the opposition during the budget session. Discussions were also held on the government’s strategy against unrest and mess at the parliament at the hands of the opposition.
It is worth mentioning here that the Ministry of Planning had presented the Federal Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2019-20 with an allocation of Rs675 billion. Making the total federal PSDP to Rs925 billion, the government has claimed that the additional Rs250 billion will be generated from the private sector. The Annual Plan Coordination Committee (APCC) had proposed development outlay of Rs1.837 trillion and 4 per cent GDP growth rate for FY 2019-20. The APCC had approved an Rs925 billion federal government allocation in the PSDP for the next fiscal year while provincial allocation in the PSDP was approved at Rs912 billion.