PESHAWAR: The federal government has increased financial allocation for development schemes in merged tribal districts to Rs54 billion in the budget for the fiscal year 2021-22.

In his budget speech at the National Assembly on Friday, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin said the government attaches special attention to development of merged tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The minister said increased budgetary allocation also includes Rs30 billion for 10-year development plan.

A total amount of Rs2.1 trillion has been proposed for Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the fiscal year 2020-21, with special focus on generating business activities to combat widespread disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the budgetary document, out of the total PSDP outlay, Rs900 billion was set aside for the federal PSDP, and Rs1.235 trillion for the provinces.

The National Economic Council (NEC) approved the PSDP allocations on June 07, with foreign assistance of Rs100 billion. The PSDP had been enhanced by 38 percent from Rs650 billion (in FY-2020-21) to Rs900 billion for the next fiscal.

Special development packages were included under the regional equalisation programme for next fiscal year to ensure the development of deprived areas to bring them at par with other developed regions of the country. The programme included enhanced allocation for merged districts, accelerated development plan for Southern Balochistan, Karachi Transformation Plan, socio-economic development of Gilgit-Baltistan, and Sindh Development Plan for over 14 districts.

Official document showed that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) continued to remain in focus as its projects had been fully funded, while special funds were kept for railways, water resource projects and housing sector in the PSDP.

Out of total Rs900 billion federal Public Sector Development Programme, the government allocated Rs628.224 billion for federal ministries, Rs183.235 billion for corporations, Rs70 billion for COVID-19 response and other natural calamities programme, and Rs61 billion for VGF for Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects.

The document revealed that to augment Public Sector Development Programme, resources of the private sector would be leveraged with the help of Public Private Partnership Authority (PPA), attracting domestic and foreign direct investment in commercially viable projects.