PSDP: A Political Phenomenon
“The Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) is an important policy instrument for achieving socio-economic objectives of the government. It also creates spillover impact for the private sector and leverages potential of the economy for creation of greater social good.” These are the first lines of the Planning Commissions’ 2020-21 PSDP document, and although they paint a wonderful picture of the PSDP; we really must consider if it is even in sight of the reality, let alone close to it. Since the 18 th amendment, PSDP has seen a significant change as the provincial share in the development outlay has increased while functional responsibilities have also been distributed among the three tiers of government i.e. federal, provincial and local governments. The Planning Commission’s role over the years has more or less been limited to being just a PSDP approving body, with much less planning coming through the commission. Although PSDP is announced annually in the budget before the start of the new fiscal year, the process of finalizing begins much earlier. Each Ministry or Division forwards its projects and required funds estimate for approval to the Planning Commission. As a result, series of discussions, evaluations, and valuations are carried out over the next few months before the Planning Commission finally approves the PSDP funds for the coming fiscal year which then becomes part of the budget document presented to the cabinet for approval before being tabled in the parliament.