ISLAMABAD: A legislative body of senators directed Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms to make a comprehensive plan to get rid of from World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) clutches and put the country towards self reliance.
Currently, more than 65 percent of national resources were used for security and foreign debt services and only 35 percent left for development and non-development sector of the country.
In such a critical situation, there is a strong feeling Pakistan should get ride from foreign loan forwarded by different donor agencies and other countries. Senate Standing Committee on Planning Development and Reforms met under the chair of Senator Rehman Malik observed dismal economic situation of the country, most of Pakistan investors wind up businesses in Pakistan and shifted to Canada and still the process was in progress. The foreign inflow is on decline while the outflow of foreign currency was on rise through illegal channel (hundi). The law and order and worst type of energy crises badly affected business environment of the country. Earlier Secretary Planning Development and Reforms Hassan Nawaz Tarar told the Committee national savings of Pakistan was only 13.2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while India has 32percent and Sri Lanka 24 percent.
Usually Pakistanis are less involved in income generating activities and lack of know how of Pakistanis over governance besides many more factors are responsible for low domestic savings.
The Committee directed the Ministry to provide details of incomplete projects to them with details. There are some projects, which continued for the last 15 years and every year the government made some allocation for them. The Committee was of the view such project totally lost its significance and there were just wastage of national resources.
The secretary said the authority of the federation has been diluted in the education, health, agriculture and social sectors while dealing with the provinces. The Committee was also briefed about the future plan and the reasons of failure to meet the required standards of enhancing/upgrading the international standards nutrition of children/women empowerment.
Members of the Committee objected to the step-motherly treatment with provinces as par to Punjab. One of the member claimed the projects are being allocated without the approval of the Economic Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) and objection was raised regarding the formalities related to Metro Bus. It was also pointed out providing Metro Bus was a good initiative but it was more required in the rural areas, which were totally being ignored.
The next 5 years plan does not have any reform planning for the law enforcement to empower them to build their capacity and also no substantive work has been proposed to make the prosecution independent and compatible with the civil or private sector.
The Committee discussed there was no proper plan to enhance the opportunities of employment for youth, hence it was proposed by the chairman of the Committee all universities, colleges of the morning shifts could be converted into vocational institutes in the afternoon shifts and every college should have a poly-technical department for 6 months training to produce skilled and semi-skilled workers to cater for the requirements.
Rehman Malik appreciated the loan scheme for the youth, however he asked the record of the distribution of loan scheme in the next meeting of the Committee.
Moreover he asked for the procedure adopted for granting the loans to the youth.
He inquired about the inability shown for improving the lives of poor and also sorted out the explanation from the Ministry over discrimination with Gilgit Baltistan especially in allocation of funds. He asked the Ministry Federally Administrated Tribal Areas should get their due share in compensation because they were the one who have suffered heavy human losses and in form of their properties.
It was pointed out in the Committee many companies were evading taxes with the convenience of Capital Development Authority and the illegal construction of three stories of centaurus came under discussion and the Committee decided to refer the case to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and report within two weeks on the illegal construction of centaurus and responsibility to be fixed on those who were involved. The delay in Nandipur Power project also came under discussion and matter has been referred to FIA to investigate and report within two weeks on delay and any other irregularity committed in this important national project.
It was decided another meeting would be called wherein some of the issues after 18th Amendments needs to be resolved and hence in the meeting minister of finance and minister for planning and development of all the provinces should be called.
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