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Sunday, 19 May 2013

ECP decision enables KP govt to re-appropriate Rs6b funds

PESHAWAR: The Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) notification allowing the diversion of development funds paved the way for the Khyber Pakhtun-khwa government to go with the re-appropriation of funds amounting to Rs6 billion.
The sources told The News on Friday that even before the lifting of ban by the ECP, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had re-appropriated Rs275 million from the much-wanted Northern Bypass Road (Charsadda Road to Karkhano-Hayatabad) project to the Ring Road Project.

The ECP on January 22 issued directives to the provincial government to abstain from diversion of development funds till election as the same could be used as manipulating tools in the constituencies of some influential people in the outgoing government. However, it lifted the ban on the diversion of funds on May 16 with which the huge diversion of funds has started in the province.

While the re-appropriation of funds to development projects particularly those being funded from non-ADP portfolio or new projects was simply out of question, but the provincial government diverted funds form Northern Bypass Project to the Ring Road project.

And funds have also been re-appropriated to some closed projects under the Peshawar Development Authority (PDA), giving a fig to the directives of the ECP and the mandate of the caretakers, the sources added.

Besides this diversion, a huge re-appropriation of about Rs6 billion funds is also under way and the next government should take note of it. An official in the Communication and Works (C&W) Department on condition of anonymity said the re-appropriation was for the officers who are efficient in outreach and experts in utilizing an unimaginable amount of funds in the month of June. It is now commonly known as Junism in Finance Department and the media circles, he said and added that the C&W people could swallow Rs10 billion till June 30.

The official claimed that the commission in development projects had now touched 46 percent while the contractors would also make their bucks which would not be included in the commission mentioned above.

There is a panic-like situation in the Planning and Finance Department (P&D), and the money is being dolled-out so that the uplift funds could be “utilized” before the new government takes over in the province.

Referring to the Finance Department (also posted on the official website of the department), the official said that the utilization of development funds is not more than 45 percent over the last ten and half months and the government department are striving to consume the remaining 55 to 60 percent funds in one month time which is absolutely impossible.

He said that it was an open secret now that billions of rupees are drawn in advance in June and no one in the government either questions it or offers any remedy for the same because everyone gets benefited form it one way or the other.

Another officer in the Planning Department, who also requested not to be named, said that it was also the failure of the P&D Department that was doing everything, but except planning. He added that due to the low capacity and ill-planning 50 percent re-appropriation of original budget takes place in the last month of every fiscal year.

He did not rule out the possibility of manipulation in the re-appropriation process and termed the same a big challenge for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf coalition in the province.The official said the new government should also launch some kind reforms to fight the menace of the underutilization of funds that lead to re-appropriation and ultimately becomes a source of mega corruption.

Riaz Khan DaudzaiSaturday, May 18, 2013
From Print Edition
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