Gilgit Baltistan: Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr. Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan has said that the incumbent government is fully committed to achieving the objectives of political stability and socio-economic development. We believe that a stable and prosperous GB can play an important role in the country’s economy.
Deputy Chairman Planning Commission was addressing a Seminar on the “Socio-Economic Development of Gilgit-Baltistan” which was jointly organized by the Ministry of Planning Development & Special Initiatives and Planning Development Department of GB here in Gilgit-Baltistan on Monday. The high-level forum, for the first time, deliberated upon the five year plan/ program developed for various sectors by the Planning Commission in collaboration with the Government of GB. The major sectors include infrastructure, agriculture, tourism, health, education, higher education, energy and gems and precious stones.
While addressing the seminar Deputy Chairman Planning commission said that this year, the GB development budget was increased from RS 2.5 billion to 10 billion which is four times more than the previous budget, which shows the commitment of the Federal for the development of GB. He also said that the offices of federal agencies will also be set up here soon so that the people living here do not have to visit Islamabad frequently.
While talking on Energy issues DCPC said that the Federal Government in collaboration with GB Government is planning to take certain important interventions such as; establishment of regional grid to reduce losses, evacuate surplus power to other load centers and ultimately provide a foundation for interconnecting GB with national grid.
He said that mineral sector development will be focused upon through strong R&D activities, regulatory framework, resources mapping and deployment of modern technologies.
While talking on Tourism of GB he said that we are planning to develop it as an industry. Several interventions have been identified to harness the potential such as infrastructure development, legal and regulatory framework, private sector facilitation, comfort of tourists and needs of the local community, marketing strategy and skilled development.
DCPC said that the Government will focus on community based sustainable interventions capitalizing on the potential local resources, improvement in Human Development Indicators including health, education, water & sanitation and immunization.
He said that the present Government have taken different steps to facilitate Public Private Partnership in certain mega projects under PSDP+. In GB we are looking for PPP in social sector for mainstreaming of vulnerable and socially excluded population. Collaboration with local and international development partners will be made to seek financial and technical assistance in different sectors. A PPP Cell will be establish in the Planning and Development Department of GB
Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Mr. Jehanzeb Khan also said that the increased productivity in agriculture, livestock and fisheries sectors can also impact the livelihood of local community. Establishment of cold chain, agro-based industry and food processing industry backed by strong R&D will be the key areas of focus.
While addressing the Socio-Economic Development of Gilgit-Baltistan seminar he said that there is a need for a fool proof implementation strategy to materialize all the proposed plans and programs realistically, otherwise, we may end up with a long wish list. Institutional reforms will also play a key role in this regard. The roles of Federal and GB Government should also be clearly defined prior to unfolding the Five-Year Plan. No doubt, Federal Government will support provincial government in achieving the national objectives by focusing on the welfare and wellbeing of the people, However, GB Government will have to devise strategies for sectoral development initiatives, and act proactively.
CM Gilgit Baltistan Mir Afzal khan presented souvenir to Deputy Chairman Planning Commission and thanked the delegation of Planning Commission for visiting Gilgit for seeing various initiatives themselves and to understand the needs of the Government and people of Gilgit Baltistan.