- 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
- 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
- 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.
the Event: Reforms Agenda for Public Sector Development
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