Home Latest News NEC Approves 3.6% Growth Target for FY2024-25

NEC Approves 3.6% Growth Target for FY2024-25

Center urges provinces to cooperate in national development, with focus on increasing exports

by Staff Report

Photo courtesy PID

The National Economic Council (NEC) on Monday, under the chair of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, approved in principle the 13th five-year National Development Plan, as well as the annual economic growth targets for fiscal year 2024-25 and the macroeconomic framework for the annual plan.

Apart from the prime minister, Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar; federal ministers Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Muhammad Aurangzeb, Ahsan Iqbal and Ahad Khan Cheema; the chief ministers of all four provinces and various provincial officers attended the meeting, which was briefed on the annual development plan (ADP).

Overall, the NEC approved a national development plan worth Rs. 3.792 trillion for the next fiscal year with an aim to increase the economic growth rate to 3.6% from the provisional 2.4% of the outgoing fiscal year. The meeting, per a statement, approved an over-47 percent increase in the federal Public Sector Development Program (PSDP), raising it from Rs. 950 billion to Rs. 1.4 trillion.

The NEC also allocated Rs. 75 billion for parliamentarians’ schemes under the Sustainable Development Goals Achievement Program.

All four provinces objected to the Annual Plan Coordination Committee’s recommendations to exclude provincial projects from federal funding through the PSDP, resulting in the NEC approving cumulative ADPs worth Rs. 2.095 trillion to fund ongoing high-priority provincial projects that are more than 80 percent completed. The meeting saw a debate with the Sindh chief minister lamenting receiving limited funding under the PTI-led government and seeking redress, while the Balochistan chief minister pointed to his province’s limited development and warned the proposals would impact various projects.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister, meanwhile, objected to non-allocation of funds for some critical ongoing projects in his province. Defending its actions, the center conveyed to the chief ministers that its fiscal position had deteriorated after the 7th National Finance Commission Award and its interest payments had gone up significantly.

According to a statement, the key objectives of the upcoming ADP include encouraging national development, especially in underdeveloped areas; increasing exports; promoting small and medium industries; social protection and poverty alleviation; increasing the capacity building of the work-force; and introducing a framework to offset the impacts of climate change. The NEC, per the statement, directed the planning ministry to ensure a positive role of provinces in the national economy and to present a comprehensive framework to increase the country’s exports. It was also directed to include the provinces in the consultation process to achieve the national economic growth target.

Additionally, the NEC was informed of the national goals for economic revival and measures required to achieve them. The participants were told the upcoming development budget would prioritize projects under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC); those with foreign investment; and ones nearing completion. They were told Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets would also be included in the development projects and underdeveloped areas would be given priority.

P.M.’s address

Addressing the meeting, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif emphasized the best utilization of existing resources for revival of the economy and prosperity of the people. He vowed to consult with all provinces and stakeholders on all important decisions regarding the economy to ensure a collective vision for national development of the country.

“The National Economic Council is the biggest forum for important decisions regarding the country’s economy, which will be used for important decisions for the recovery of the economy,” he said.

Sharif also directed the NEC to form a committee to consult with provinces and other stakeholders and formulate proposal in line with modern requirements. Stressing on agriculture as the backbone of the national economy, he said its development was essential and ordered the relevant authorities to ensure inclusion of the provinces’ proposals regarding agriculture and other sectors in the plan.

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