• Taimur Chambers Plot # 10-D (WEST), Fazal-ul-Haq Rd, Islamabad
  • (+92) 51-2278134, (+92) 51-2278135
  • Taimur Chambers Plot # 10-D (WEST), Fazal-ul-Haq Rd, Islamabad
  • (+92) 51-2278134, (+92) 51-2278135

Policy Recommendations Details

Key Recommendations:

  • Planning Commission must strengthen its capacity for monitoring and evaluation in terms of human and technical capital. There has been serious gaps in M&E, as only 578 projects were monitored (mostly desk review) against 1846 schemes in year 2010-11. And out of these, post project evaluation of only 12 projects had been conducted. This reflects that entire planning system is understaffed and technically under-capacitated.
  • Time has now come to move towards result based monitoring and evaluation of projects with emphasis upon outcomes and long term impacts. Traditional M&E currently in practice only involves overseeing of inputs, utilization of resources and products acquired at the end. There is no emphasis on gauging the impacts or positive results generated by certain project.
  • Throw forward in PSDP must be reduced through alternate financing modes, such as a) public private partnerships, b) built to operate & transfer, and c) built to operate & own schemes. Throw forward in PSDP currently stands at 3 trillion Rupees mostly because of cut in PSDP, increased number of new schemes and lower resource mobilization for projects.
  • Provinces can rationalize throw forward through a) Avoiding politically driven projects lacking economic justification, b) avoiding duplication of projects, and c) considering the closure of new and ongoing projects for which the expense incurred is less than 25%. After the implementation of 18th amendment major chunk of development planning has been shifted to provinces. So it is now the responsibilities of provinces to take lead in reforming PSDP.  Federal government will continue to fund higher education and provide for vertical programs of health and population.
  • Following measures must be taken to minimize leakages in PSDP; a) project management cost in public sector development projects is way too high which must be reduced, b) dedicated technical professionals must be appointed as project directors in projects instead of bureaucrats with experience only in civil service, c) consultancy charges must be rationalized, d) contingencies should be reduced, and e) public sector projects should be exempted from GST.
  • There must be more fund allocation for human development rather than investing on brick and mortar projects. Infrastructure sector squeezes 57 % of Pakistan’s Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP). Likewise, 82% of foreign aid is also spent on projects related to infrastructure while only 13% foreign aid is used on social development. Some experts say that Pakistan is over invested in roads (Pasha 2011).
  • While slashing PSDP following criteria must be adopted; a) projects near completion should be fully protected, b) contractual binding in projects with foreign donors must be honored, c) development packages should be protected, d) further new approved projects only in areas falling in governments priorities, and e) projects with 30% expenditure may be deferred unless very critical.
  • Bypassing Planning Commission in project approval and award of anticipatory approval must be discouraged. There must be rigorous abidance of feasibility, appraisal and approval processes. This can be enforced and strengthened by a) emplacing strong financial and technical appraisal (can be outsourced), b) social analysis which reflects beneficiary population, dislocation, resettlement and livelihoods c) economic analysis that estimates EIRR, B/C ratio, NPV and domestic resource cost, and d) risk analysis that should include time delays, cost variations, design and content modifications.
  • There is a need to de-link PSDP from foreign assistance and assure full release of PSDP budget without cuts. PSDP in Pakistan heavily relies upon foreign assistance and suffers drastically due to uncertainties whenever flow of assistance is stalled.

These recommendations were presented during a special lecture delivered by Dr. Vaqar and followed by a discussion, recently organized by SDPI in Islamabad.

Tile of the Event: Reforms Agenda for Public Sector Development Program (PSDP)

Date Monday: 22 August, 2011



  • Dr Vaqar Ahmed, Head Economic Growth Unit, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and Former National Institutional Advisor, Planning Commission of Pakistan


  • Dr Abid Q. Suleri, Executive  Director, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Islamabad