ECC approves Rs2,709b development budget for 2023-24

The government has increased the development budget by more than 100 per cent despite current economic challenges.

Islamabad: The National Economic Council (NEC) has approved a tentative development budget of Rs2,709 billion for the fiscal year 2023-24.

The NEC chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif reviewed the overall economic situation of the country and discussed the development of provinces.

The prime minister said that Pakistan is a federation and it cannot prosper without the equal development of provinces.

Sharif said that despite limited economic resources, the federal government will fulfill development demands of provinces and ensure fair and transparent distribution of resources while adding that a committee headed by the planning minister had been formed to ensure transparency in the process.

“When Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) left government in 2018, the federal development budget was Rs1,000 billion which was reduced to Rs550 billion by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government in the fiscal year 2021-22,” he said.

According to the premier, the government has increased the development budget by more than 100 per cent to Rs1,150 billion for the next fiscal year despite current economic challenges “so that not only Pakistan develops but the fruits of this development can reach the common man.”

The NCC was told that despite inherent economic problems including a loss of $30 billion to the economy caused by historic floods in Pakistan, the economic growth rate this year remained at 0.3 per cent.

He said that exports remained at $84 billion during the tenure of the PTI government in 2021-22, and foreign exchange reserves witnessed a sharp dip, accentuating the country’s economic problems.

The ECC also set an ambitious growth rate of 3.5 per cent for the next fiscal year. 

The meeting was told that this year, the total investment in the country was 13.61%, which has been hiked to 15 per cent for the next fiscal year.

Minister of Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal briefed the participants pertaining to the 5-Es (Es) framework with a focus on exports promotion, e-Pakistan (digitalisation), environment, energy and equitable Pakistan. 

He said that measures will be taken to increase exports under this framework with a focus on digital Pakistan through an agenda that is indispensable for the overall development of Pakistan.

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