The Senate Standing Committee on Planning Development and Special Initiatives (MoPD&SI) held its meeting on Thursday at the Parliament Lodges in Islamabad. As per the agenda, the Committee discussed the allocations made for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during the last three years; the details of Industries that fall under the category of Large Scale Manufacturing; and the details of NHA-led projects initiated in Balochistan, particularly with reasons for projects that were not initiated despite allocation of funds, during FY-2019-2020.
Chaired by Senator Agha Shahzaib Durrani, the meeting was attended by Senator Dr. Hidayat Ullah, Senator Engr. Rukhsana Zuberi, Senator Shaheen Khalid Butt and senior officers from the MoPD&SI and Ministry of Communications along with all concerned.
The meeting commenced with reviewing the compliance in favour of recommendations made in a previous meeting held on 12 February, 2020. Chairman Committee, Senator Agha Shahzaib Durrani, took strict notice of repeated delays in project completion and stressed that lacunas should immediately be removed that hamper the project lifecycle until completion. He instructed the MoPD&SI to focus on devising mechanisms to strengthen the practical and financial monitoring. It was recommended that instead of utilising the services of Multinational Companies that generally work around self-interest, indigenous and successful Pakistani companies and experts should be prioritised to encourage dedication.
Discussing the RBOD 2 project, the committee inquired the details of the implementation plan and methodology for completion of the remaining work by the Sindh Government. Chairman committee also asked the MoPD&SI to submit the monitoring report of M8 Khuzdar Ratudero section along with reasons for delay.
Discussing the allocation, implementation and overall management of the SDGs, the committee inquired into the scattered structure of supervision of the SDGs spread across various ministries and departments. The committee emphasised that approval and release mechanism for projects being funded under SDGs head should be brought before the committee and should bring details of all projects implemented under SDGs in last 3 years. Chairman committee directed that a joint briefing by the Cabinet Division, MoPD&SI, and Ministry of Finance may be arranged to clarify the issue and to help identify structural problems affecting the SDGs implementation. This included questions by the committee on both large-scale and small-scale projects.
While discussing the starred question asked by Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Sheikh regarding details of Industries which fall under the category of Large-Scale Manufacturing, the Committee was informed that 15 products formed the list and the provisionally released growth rate was -2.30 for July-Jan 2018-19. Latest data for the current year 2019-20 (July-March) indicated a decline of 5.4 percent. It was asserted that for improvement CMI is required to be corrected. The CMI Report is scheduled for publication in December, which the committee requested to be published earlier so that timely legislative and executive decisions can be taken to minimise any further loss.
Reviewing progress on NHA projects in Balochistan the Committee expressed great dissatisfaction with the trend of long-pending projects that do not get completed despite allocation of funds. Chairman committee stressed that there was no point in adding more projects in the PSDP each year when some projects are still pending for over two decades. The committee directed that detailed report on the status of all projects be submitted and that GM NHA be summoned in the next meeting to state reasons for non-completion of such projects.