KP's de­vel­op­ment spend­ing

The Pak Banker - - 4EDITORIAL - Mo­ham­mad Ali Khan

DE­VEL­OP­MENT spend­ing in Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa is pick­ing up pace as al­most all the line agen­cies achieved their fi­nan­cial tar­gets at the end of fis­cal year 2014-15. The KP gov­ern­ment has been fac­ing crit­i­cism for not be­ing able to utilise the de­vel­op­ment funds avail­able to it dur­ing the stip­u­lated time­frame over the last two years. How­ever, of­fi­cials at the plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment depart­ment claim that the trend is chang­ing.

Sta­tis­tics com­piled in July for the fi­nan­cial year 2014-15 on the util­i­sa­tion of al­lo­cated funds re­flect a healthy in­crease in de­vel­op­ment spend­ing.

The an­nual de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme (ADP) was orig­i­nally al­lo­cated Rs100.1bn, but was re­vised to Rs99.281bn at the end of the third quar­ter of the last fi­nan­cial year. The im­ple­ment­ing agen­cies were able to spend Rs90.076bn, or al­most 91pc of the to­tal al­lo­ca­tion (in­clud­ing the for­eign-funded projects), against 68pc in 2013-14.

Of­fi­cials say the Pro­vin­cial De­vel­op­ment Work­ing Party has held 28 ses­sions over the last few months and granted ap­proval to 564 new de­vel­op­ment projects

A sec­tor-wise re­view of the spend­ing re­flects im­prove­ment in the last quar­ter of FY2014-15, as 19 out of 32 sec­tors utilised 100pc of their al­lo­cated funds. These in­clude roads; health; drink­ing wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion; ele­men­tary, sec­ondary and higher ed­u­ca­tion; wa­ter, energy and power; agri­cul­ture, dis­trict ADPs; build­ings; sports and cul­ture; so­cial wel­fare; hous­ing; in­for­ma­tion; food; en­vi­ron­ment; labour and forests.

Sim­i­larly, sec­tors such as home, ur­ban de­vel­op­ment and trans­port con­sumed more than 90pc of their al­lo­ca­tions, while law and jus­tice, re­lief and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, re­gional de­vel­op­ment and pro-poor sec­tors spent around 80pc of their al­lo­ca­tions.

The of­fi­cials claim that KP's spend­ing on up­lift schemes has been bet­ter than those by Sindh and Punjab. They claim that in 2014-15, Sindh utilised 70pc of its de­vel­op­ment funds of Rs143bn ( or Rs100.37bn). Sim­i­larly, Punjab utilised Rs195bn, or 73pc of its Rs268bn in de­vel­op­ment funds. KP's 91pc util­i­sa­tion is ac­tu­ally the high­est in re­cent times.

De­vel­op­ment projects in the public sec­tor run through var­i­ous stages: pro­ject iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, prepa­ra­tion, for­mu­la­tion, au­tho­ri­sa­tion, and im­ple­men­ta­tion. Bot­tle­necks at any of these stages lead to de­lays. A slow pace of util­i­sa­tion of funds re­sults in pro­ject de­lays and cost over­runs.

Now a strat­egy has been put in place to ad­dress the bot­tle­necks at dif­fer­ent phases of the process. The plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment depart­ment has man­aged to con­duct sev­eral progress re­views of the de­vel­op­ment port­fo­lio, where the chief min­is­ter and the se­nior bu­reau­cracy have tack­led the block­ages.

The Pro­vin­cial De­vel­op­ment Work­ing Party (PDWP), headed by the ad­di­tional chief sec­re­tary, scru­ti­nises the tech­ni­cal as well as so­cial util­ity as­pects of the projects. To avoid de­lays and to speed up the spend­ing, spe­cial em­pha­sis is given to ex­pe­dite ap­provals. Of­fi­cials say the PDWP has held 28 ses­sions over the last few months and granted ap­proval to 564 new de­vel­op­ment projects.

Pro­ject im­ple­men­ta­tion is also of­ten marred by the non-avail­abil­ity of re­quired funds at crit­i­cal mo­ments. At the end of the third quar­ter of each fi­nan­cial year, all the im­ple­ment­ing agen­cies are asked to sur­ren­der any funds they might not be able to spend.

The funds are then re-ap­pro­pri­ated to other projects where im­ple­men­ta­tion is com­par­a­tively faster. Of­fi­cials say funds were di­verted to the fast-track projects for early com­ple­tion. This has not only con­trib­uted to a bet­ter util­i­sa­tion of funds, but also helped the com­ple­tion of 257 projects in the last fi­nan­cial year.

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