Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal chaired a high-level meeting focused on evaluating the role and potential reforms of the Planning Commission. The meeting emphasized the need to reexamine the Commission’s structure and make essential adjustments.

During the session, critical aspects of economic reforms and capacity-building for sustainable development in Pakistan were reviewed. Federal Minister for Power and Water Resources Musadik Malik, MNA Ali Pervez Malik, the Planning Secretary, Cabinet Secretary, and senior officials from the Ministry of Planning participated in the discussions. Minister Ahsan Iqbal acknowledged the effective functioning of the operational and technical sections within the Ministry but emphasized the importance of attracting top talent from the market to enhance thought leadership. He highlighted the need for revised remuneration to achieve this goal, stating, “We have to revise our pay scales to attract professionals with market skills and experience.”

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Reflecting on past achievements, Minister Ahsan Iqbal noted the successful formulation and implementation of Vision 2025 during 2013-18. He highlighted the Planning Ministry’s achievement of significant savings totaling Rs. 700 billion from the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) over five years through rigorous project scrutiny and financial management.

Minister Ahsan Iqbal reiterated the importance of capacity-building within line ministries to ensure efficient project proposal preparation (PC-Is), allowing the Planning Ministry to focus on strategic planning and thought leadership. He also emphasized the recruitment of sector specialists from the market to strengthen technical capabilities and accelerate project completion.

Regarding fund allocation, Minister Ahsan Iqbal stressed the need for clear benchmarks for PSDP financing, considering the devolution of powers to provinces post-18th amendment. This would enable informed decision-making by the federal government and reduce PSDP burdens.

The meeting concluded with the decision to take actionable steps to reexamine the Planning Commission’s structure and implement necessary reforms to address existing challenges. Minister Ahsan Iqbal highlighted the transformative potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and stressed the need for adaptive strategies to capitalize on emerging opportunities. He emphasized the imperative of reevaluating governance structures in light of these advancements.

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