According to newspaper reports, the government has approved a summary on Infrastructure Finance Policy 2017 through a premier federal government institution and a consultative forum, the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet.The policy envisages a long-term infrastructure finance framework to attract foreign direct investment and mobilise private financing within the country for infrastructure projects. The policy will also cover demand and supply sides of finance in the wake of the economic reforms agenda launched by the current government. The government claims it has achieved macroeconomic stability in the first three years tenure in the office and is now focusing on attaining higher sustainable and inclusive growth.The government also claims that Pakistan has achieved the highest growth of 4.7 percent in eight years and there is a need to carry on the growth momentum. The development and expansion of infrastructure is necessary and inclusion of the private sector to invest and finance projects is imperative to cater to the needs of the growing economy. According to the official circles, the public sector investment is not sufficient to support the expansion of development projects and private sector involvement is encouraged in the present situation.
The government has consulted key stakeholders to financethe infrastructure projects in line with the policy framework. It also seeks diversification of financing sources and strengthening of key institutions to attract private investment in the sector. Under the policy, an action plan will be launched to meet the financing requirements for a long time through an efficient policy, good practices for infrastructure projects, support investment and encourage the development of finance framework. The government will also look into increasing the quantum of infrastructure financing from the private sector.The sectors covered under the policy include ports, terminals, airports, railways, water-ways,and renewable power infrastructure. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor is the best example of foreign investment and there is no dearth of funds at the local level if business community is persuaded to participate in the development process. Through the new policy, it is hoped that the government will be able to increase infrastructure investment through internal and external resources. The policy will also facilitate and increase the role of the private sector in the nation building programme.
The government should take the steps by involving the opposition parties into confidence. As parliament is intact, bills should be passed by the assembly to launch the development projects, leaving little room for the next government to create any hindrance in the development process. It is the dilemma of this nation that every new government introduces its own policies by rejecting the ones introduced by the previous government. This ill-conceivedpractice must end now.