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Rs1.8tr sought for next year’s development budget

ISLAMABAD: The Planning Commission has received a demand of Rs1.8 trillion from various ministries and agencies for next year’s development schemes, but the commission was proposing Rs1tr for the public sector development programme (PSDP) of 2017-18, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said on Monday.

Speaking at a news conference, the minister said the energy projects that the PML-N government launched since coming to power in 2013 were now in advanced stages and would add about 10,000 megawatts to the system between May of this year and 2018.

This would be single largest capacity addition to the power sector in Pakistan’s history.

He said the country was going through 12-18 hours of loadshedding when the current government took over in May 2013. This has now been brought down and electricity was now available for 18 hours, he added. The industry was also being given uninterrupted power supply, he added.
Planning Commission has proposed Rs1tr for PSDP

As a result, the manufacturing sector was once again showing signs of improvement through increased output and the country would come out of trade deficit soon and generate a number of new business and job opportunities, he said.

Interestingly, loadshedding on Monday again reached the same level, with the gap between demand and supply crossing 6,000MW even though the system had been stabilised to a large extent until the start of current summers.

Mr Iqbal said the PML-N government set the direction of the country four years ago by putting in place Vision 2025 at a time when the security situation was bad, farmers were suffering, the industry had come to a standstill and the investors were flying out of Pakistan.

The minister said the international community was now recognising Pakistan’s journey to economic revival and the country was turning into a centre of development and economic growth.

On a question about Panama Papers leaks, the minister said it was not the job of the judiciary to make or break governments. He said the opposition wanted to ride on judiciary’s shoulders to achieve their targets that they failed through elections.

The minister said Dr Samar Mubarakmand had recently levelled some unfounded allegations unbecoming of a renowned scientist of his stature. He said the nuclear scientist had claimed that the Thar coal-based power projects had been given Rs25 per unit tariff which was incorrect because the tariffs approved by the regulator for the Thar project ranged between Rs8-9 per unit.

He said the scientist had approached the Planning Commission for more funds saying a 10MW plant on underground coal gasification was successfully operating and required to be enhanced to 100MW capacity.

The minister said Dar Samar was advised to submit a business plan so that the government could make arrangements for private sector’s investment for the project, but the proposed business plan had not been submitted in 10 months.

Courtesy : Dawn News

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