National Development Committee to be formed for recommendations on economic matters

A national consensus on policies and strategies to be made by the PTI government, to counter the challenges and achieve sustainable development and cater to the economy.

To avert Pakistan’s return to the International Monetary fund (IMF) for bailout packages, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtiar tries to bring the government and the opposition on the same page by signing the charter of the economy. As per reports, Prime Minister Imran Khan has considered the idea, as he has agreed to the formation of a committee that consists of all the political groups from both houses of parliament to recommend solutions to existing problems. With the joint support of both, the opposition and the treasury benches, the Senate has adopted recommendations on the Finance Bill 2019-20.

The government’s acceptance of the CoE correlates with the ‘National Development Council (NDC) – a high-powered body comprising of top representatives of different government leaders. With the Prime Minister Imran Khan heading the committee, members will comprise of Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the chief ministers of four provinces, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir and some important federal ministers.

The council will receive inputs and recommendations from the wide-ranging government institutions that would form the basis of exchange of views and consultations among the stakeholders for policy formulation.

The council’s mandate is: (i) to derive policies and strategies for development (ii) formulate and tailor policies to achieve and accelerate economic growth (iii) promote long-term planning for national and regional connectivity and (iv) provide guidelines for regional cooperation.

Formulating the NDC is an extra-constitutional step according to the critics, as the Former Senate chairman, Mian Raza Rabbani says “you cannot override Article 156 of the Constitution through a notification for creating an extra-constitutional organ having functions parallel to a Constitutional institution.”

It calls for understanding and cooperation among all tiers of government likely to face severe financial pressure in the next financial year owing to cuts in expenditure and rising inflation. It requires a collective national effort.

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