The National Economic Council (NEC) has approved the total development outlay worth Rs2.1 trillion for the next financial year, including Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) of Rs900 billion. The NEC, which met on Monday with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair, approved the macroeconomic framework for the next fiscal year’s annual plan. The development outlay includes Rs244 billion for transport and communications, Rs118 billion for energy, Rs91 billion for water resources, Rs113 billion for social sector, Rs100 billion for regional equalisation, Rs31 billion for science & technology, Rs68 billion for SDGs and Rs17 billion for the production sector. The NEC also approved the GDP growth projections for the next financial year as 4.8 percent with sectoral growth targets of 3.5 percent for agriculture, 6.5 percent for the industrial sector, and 4.7 percent for the services sector. The NEC was informed that the focus of PSDP will be on infrastructure improvement, water resources development, social sector improvement, regional equalization, skill development, promotion of science & technology, and IT, as well as climate change mitigation measures. The meeting was informed that the PSDP would cater to the government’s plans to increase focus on lagging areas and regions. For this purpose, sufficient allocations have been made for projects of South Balochistan, various districts of Sindh, as well as for Gilgit Baltistan. Allocations have also been made for infrastructure projects of South Punjab. Similarly, an allocation of Rs54 billion has been made for the newly merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In the social sectors, the Higher Education Commission has been allocated Rs42 billion. The meeting was informed that with the operationalisation of the Public Private Partnership Authority, a number of PPP projects are also being expeditiously processed for implementation. These include Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway and Sialkot-Kharian Motorway, which are at an advanced stage. While other major projects such as Karachi Circular Railway , Karachi Port Trust-PIPRI Freight Corridor, Kharian – Rawalpindi Motorway, Balkasar – Mianwali Road, Quetta – Karachi – Chaman Highway are also likely to be launched during the year. The government has, for the first time ever made an allocation of Rs61 billion in PSDP for financing the viability gap of PPP projects, to make sure that such projects can be successfully implemented. Addressing the meeting, the prime minister emphasised on increasing the pace of implementation of development projects to ensure that the gains made through stabilisation of the economy could be translated into economic growth resulting in the well-being of the people of Pakistan. The chief ministers of all the provinces and other members of the NEC participated in the meeting.