ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal said that the total volume of the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) is likely to be Rs700 billion in the coming budget 2022-23, which would increase more development opportunities in the country.

“Federal government is making efforts to increase up to Rs200 billion more through the public-private partnership, which will escalate the development projects. There will be 44 percent of PSDP for provincial projects and the remaining 46 percent will be federal projects. For this purpose, we have sufficient opportunities,” the minister expressed these views while addressing a news conference here on Thursday.

He said that in the previous tenure of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, we had taken PSDP to Rs1,000 billion. However, the former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had brought it to Rs500 billion, which till now should have reached Rs2,000 billion.

The minister said that the government will focus on youth issues and water scarcity and other issues in the coming Budget 2022-23, which are very important for the sustainable economic development of the country.

He said that there was no work on the projects of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in the previous regime, only a few of these projects started during our tenure.

“A total of nine Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under the CPEC was to be completed by 2020 but in the PTI government, not a single SEZ was completed,” the minister said.

He said that Chinese industrial relocation was possible only with the completion of these nine SEZs, which did not happen.

The minister said that the Chinese government was more interested in the Hattar Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project, but the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) government decided to transfer the project to Rashakai SEZ. “Now the government is trying to include Hattar SEZ also,” he said.

The minister said that the PML- N government strongly condemns the anti-Pakistan statement of former Prime Minister Imran Khan. He said that the security of the country is the first responsibility of the state in which no negligence will be tolerated.

He said no one would be allowed to speak on other sensitive issues, including the country’s nuclear programme. He said that Imran Khan should not be embarrassed to say such things as he has been ousted from the government and he should show political seriousness.

The minister said that in the past, the government of the PTI had led the country towards an economic crisis which the present government was trying to rectify.—NAVEED BUTT