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Punjab Planning & Development Department and SNG Organized Workshop on Operationalizing Punjab Economic Growth Strategy 2014-18 Through ADP 2016–17 Formulation.

29 Feb, 2016

Punjab Planning & Development Department, with the technical assistance from UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) funded Sub-National Governance Programme organized a workshop to kick-start the formulation of Punjab Annual Development Plan (ADP) 2016-17. A wide array of senior planning officers from various departments including P&D, Health, Education, Livestock & Dairy Development, Mines and Mineral, Information & Culture, LG&CD, Punjab Economic Research Institute and others participated in the workshop.

The ADP was one of the key instruments of  for translating the government’s vision and mission of Growth into development projects and schemes for its citizens. The workshop involved presenting Government of Punjab development priorities i.e. Punjab Growth Strategy 2014-2018 to departments, including health, education, agriculture, industries, etc. for their guidance and for development of projects that best corresponded to the government’s commitment to achieve provincial growth of 7-8%, create job opportunities for 1 million people, provide skills to 2 million youth and to deliver quality public services to the citizens of Punjab.

Secretary P&D Department, Iftikhar Sahoo, introduced the participants to thechanging planning paradigm and imperatives for ADP 2016-17. He explained that the workshop was an important step towards operationalization of Punjab’s Growth Strategy; wherebygovernment representatives from each sector were being afforded the opportunity toidentify development projects that were aligned with government priorities and addressed the needs of the citizens, including those who are poor and marginalized.He also advised the participants to best utilize the opportunity to discuss issues and concerns with other colleagues, especially those from the Finance Department, on operational issues and challenges being faced by the officials during development, implementation and management of development projects. He also stressed on the need to learn from last year’s development projects and build on those to achieve greater results and value for the money that thegovernment is spending on the development of Punjab Province.

Hamed Yaqoob Sheikh, team lead for UK’s DFID Sub-National Governance Programme, also appreciated the participants for taking time out for the workshop and for demonstrating their seriousness for the the  planning exercise. He said that the workshop was a continuation of work that SNG had undertaken to improve planning and development capacities in Punjab. He informed the participants that SNG had supported P&D Dept.,GoPb in updating the Provincial/ Punjab Planning Manual and ADP Guidelines to make these documents relevant and effective, as guides, for development planners. He said that a prudent effort had been made by SNG and P&D Dept. to incorporate new concepts of development in the revised planning documents and it was therefore is important for government departments to adopt those concepts in the in the formulation of ADP and in their day-to-day planning and development work. He also reaffirmed continuation of SNG’s support  forimproving planning and development capacities in P&DD and line departments.

Faisal Rasheed, PFM Advisor, SNG  presented the key pillars of the Punjab Growth Strategy and gaps therein. He also explained GoPb vision for 2018 and described  the commitments that were required from departments for successful execution of  the growth strategy.

Secretary P&D Dept, GoPb articulated some of the issues and challenges faced by the P&D, Finance and other provincial department in the development, implementation and management of development funds. He further emphasised the need to bring greater planning capacities in line-departments to identify and develop development projects that were aligned  with the Economic Growth Strategy. The delay inthe approval and award of development schemes is also one of the major issues that  undermined the desired outcomes of the development programmes in Punjab. The Secretary also urged the departments to identify development schemes which were of high priority and offered greater returns, without basing their  decisionson constraints of  funds faced by  the government.  In addition, he also briefed the participants on some of the important considerations for better development planning.

Dr. Ijaz Nabi Advisor to CM Punjab while discussing operationalization of Punjab Economic Growth Strategy 2014-18 emphasized that the design of the ADP should be one ‘ that attracts the private investment, which is the heart of ‘Punjab Economic Growth Strategy’. He also highlighted that SDGs were important as benchmarks to measure our development gains. While discussing the Punjab Economic Growth Strategy, he further explained that social cohesion had also been anchored in the Strategy. He advised the participantsto develop their development interventions while keeping Punjab Economic Growth Strategy in view.

Towards the end, the participants were arranged into groups based on their respective sectors and invited to identify sector priorities, after deliberations and justifications, so as to enable the departments concerned to develop schemes for inclusion in the ADP 2016-17.