No cuts in development programs despite deteriorating economic situation, promises Ahsan Iqbal – Pakistan

Pakistan’s economy, battered by rapidly depleting foreign exchange reserves, has shown few signs of recovery despite the International Monetary Fund (IMF resumed extended lending program for the country has been badly hit by the relentless flooding caused by what UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called “the monsoon on steroids.”

This gave credence to speculation that the government may have to further cut the proposed annual Public Sector Development Program (PSDP).

Ahsan Iqbal, the Federal Minister of Planning and Development, in an exclusive interview with SAMAA TV, said that there will be no cuts in the federal development program despite the difficult economic situation the country finds itself in. .

The Federal Minister said PSDP expenditure had already decreased by 700-800 billion rupees from around 1 trillion rupees in 2018. He said PSDP expenditure should have doubled in the past four years.

If the government cut the PSDP program further, it would mean cutting more development activities that would not be suitable, the minister said, adding that the government was trying to reclaim resources to provide funds to flood-affected areas. and rebuild infrastructure.

The Minister also promised that the annual will not fall below 3%.

“Despite the devastating floods, the growth rate will fall below 3%,” he said.

Last week, the Asian Development Bank revised down expected growth rates for Pakistan due to record flooding and other policy measures that would slow growth to 3.5%.

According to a revised outlook released by the AfDB, Pakistan recorded higher growth of 6% in the financial year 2021-22 due to higher private consumption and an expansion in agriculture, services and industry – especially large-scale manufacturing.

But in the 2022-23 financial year, forecasts indicated that Pakistan had adopted tight monetary policies to control inflation, rapid depletion of reserves and a widening deficit, but also major “climate headwinds”. . All of these factors have contributed to lower growth rates than previously forecast.

While castigating the predecessors, Ahsan Iqbal said the Council of Common Interest (CCI) approved the National Flood Protection Program with the help of Dutch consultants in 2017.

Instead of advancing this agenda, Imran Khan has not invested a single penny in it. Had the previous government invested resources in a few projects, the scale of the flood devastation would have been much less catastrophic.