Inflationary trends in the planning process

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

Economic Updates - Exclusive Articles

ARTICLE :This fetish about knowledge and reputations has to be discarded. The last three Deputy Chairmen were from diverse backgrounds. The one during Musharraf regime was an engineer with no idea about the rural areas and much less about agriculture but he stayed on for the tenure of the tyrannical President and the dent that he made were so severe that the Planning commission is still trying to get out of that morass.

The drought mitigation project to cite only one case was utilised by the Chairman for the renovation of his room to the tune of 87 lakhs of rupees, one room to be refurbished at that cost and that too out of the drought mitigation project? Worse was to follow for the project in charge was someone from the accounts group and despite the excellent investigative report of Rauf Klasra the man held on and no one took any notice. Vehicles were bought and given to spouses of senior personal of the Planning Commission. So all tongues were tied and the insurance was well-worth having. Whose money, not his father s anyway?

The second was Sardar Aseff Ahmed Ali and despite the fact that he was from the political field he brought with him a considerable amount of grey matter and was able to give a modicum of sense to the planning process. There was some criticism of the Planning Commission at that time as some projects that were of extreme critical nature and could have changed the tide were taken up in the Planning Commission, but he brought a considerable amount of sense and honesty to his decision-making. He understood the rural and agriculture situation well and was willing to trust people who would not siphon-off money.

He ran foul of some of the semi-political and semi-sharp critters in the system that started off by criticizing him and simply for the purpose that he would not play ball with them. What a pity for he made an excellent Deputy Chairman and heard the line departments very carefully before giving a decision. He was also aware of the weaknesses and strengths of the various individuals and who could be stretched for the nation and to what degree.

The third is the current Deputy Chairman, with an excellent endowment in terms of mind structure, but for the unfortunate situation that he does not understand the culture and the intrigues of the personalities of the Punjabis [he himself is one but has lived most of his life in USA and with the IMF]. He would have made an excellent Finance Minister and as horses are for courses, human resources are also to be matched as horses are matched. It was mismatch as he himself used to say that he does not understand agriculture at all. At least he was honest but where he failed was the understanding of human motivations and the greed of some and as he himself was unaware of the situation, the mess up was gigantic. That would be the course of further writings and how the opportunity cost of decision-making was perverted. Later.

Today I want to analyse the National Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services [Naphis]. The project is loaded on to the Ministry of food and agriculture and is a forerunner of the WTO fall out. It is meant to increase the cost of the exportable commodity so that the health of the west is maintained. The revised Performa that I am examining is the 2005 project PC1. It has been in position for more that six years and it still has to export a single plant or animal to the developed world. The activity-riddled project has no action that it was supposed to co-ordinate. The project in-charge who has landed on this project is settled in Washington and was our press counsellor there before defecting to a better course of living.

He is now well passed sixty and still a master of intrigue. His knowledge of the work is zero and his ability is in another field, where he sits in slavery and servility to the bosses that he has in the ministry. Having done the last minister and the couple of secretary s down, through a misinformation line that he gave them he joined up with other subordinates in the ministry playing the same game. It is difficult to be in a ministry which has to think and plan for the future. Since he had a few godfathers here and there and what could be better than the slavery and servility aspect as long as the job was not on the line. The ministry is teeming with such individuals at the moment whose job seems to be only to pay lip service to the minister [last whose job was lost due to these individuals and their tattling exercises] and his secretary.

The objectives of the project are laudable for the project was supposed to increase export of agriculture and related commodities in the international market and to ensure that the imports were also checked so that the health of the population could be safeguarded. The view taken was that the project would help get an increase in the process and that the world markets were available to Pakistani agriculture products.

Egos have no limits. In fact, the reverse has happened and the inflationary trend has hit us. The country does not have a single product that can go and fetch a price on its own. The traditional exports of fibre are hardly in this context. In fact, this project was an effort to waste time and effort, an effort usually carried out by our western friends. They are keen that we spend more time chasing butterflies and for this purpose, they send one of their own here to do the needful. All this was to check the loss to the national economy.

The studies required to be examined have not been done and I asked the incumbent whether he knew any thing of the Dunkel proposals. I drew a blank. Hs forte is elsewhere. Not one of the people involved in the project have any idea as to the quality requirements for the exports of the related goods.

The capital cost estimate makes an interesting reading. As much as 609 million rupees were made available with the first year s allocation of 100 million rupees. Where has all the money gone because those five years have been expended? In fact the project seems to have been given a new lease of life by the present power block in the ministry and I am hoping that the present Minister would seek the NAPHIS people to explain the project. I am told he is already running to his godfathers to seek his safety.

The project s benefits are not quantified and are generalised. The overall benefits will develop the country and will the PD show me how that has happened. The institutional arrangement is such that there is not a single sane voice in it. The project steering committee is equally full of goons that have no idea of world markets and what they demand.

These resources were spent on eight departments [Bandar bant] with Naphis co-ordination cell receiving Rs 61 million, Plant protection Rs 82. 8 million, Grain quality lab Rs 96. 478 million rupees, federal seed certification Rs 80 million approximately, national veterinary laboratory Rs 109. 6 million, department of agricultural marketing Rs 15. 430, animal quarantine Rs 94. 9 million and the marine fisheries department Rs 71. 7 million rupees. Excellent allocation but where are the results? Where has all this gone to? What benefits has the economy received. Further analysis would show that the expenditure has been used as follows: Operational expenditure of all the allocated money to various government bodies is Rs 91. 38 million, salaries is 211. 262 million rupees, lab equipment is Rs 144 million, civil works is Rs 42 million, machinery vehicles is Rs 81 million, training seminars is nearly 30 million rupees and miscellaneous expenditure is Rs 12 million roughly. How is that going to give you what you want? Is the export by the Public or the Private sector? Naivety has no limits as also stupidity of the government functionaries. Now let us see how the leaders of the national co-ordination cell have linked its expenditure to getting what it wants to achieve. The operational expenditure is about 9 million rupees, salaries and Allowances Rs 35 million [for what primary schooling], lab equipment Rs 2 million, Machinery and vehicles Rs 3 million -UAV and what else], Training seminars Rs 10 million for junket tours abroad? And other expenditures were Rs 2 million nearly.

I have given a sample of the inflationary tends thus set up by such non-functional projects and the Planning Commission is guilty of this. The project is for senile individuals and the jobs are sinecure because it just is not possible to design such a project without the help of the private sector. The government in the Minfa is incapable of exporting hot air, what to speak of products and commodities. What new markets have they accessed, what new products have they developed for exports and where in the hard currency areas have their SPS certificates been accepted? Bloat you egos and do nothing.

Minfa s major projects will be examined to indicate how resources have been wasted and how the benefits have been personalised. Instead of doing well by the country all that they can do is to blow abuses elsewhere and try and avoid their own responsibility. The vulture culture that has emerged during the tyrannical period will be difficult to clean and improve, but if Pakistan is to get anywhere then the tough job will have to be cleaned up the Aegean Stables are stinking. There cannot be unfettered authority with anyone. More on the inflationary projects in the coming issues.

Courtesy: Business Recorder


Forex open Market rates & comments Archive

Login Form