Pakistan News

Entire year’s allocation for community development disbursed in 52 days

Entire year’s allocation for community development disbursed in 52 days

ISLAMABAD: Ahead of the forthcoming local body elections in Punjab and Sindh, the government has disbursed within two months the entire amount of Rs20 billion under fiscal year 2015-16 allocation for community development on parliamentarians’ recommendations.

The lump-sum disbursement came as the Election Commission of Pakistan announced the schedule for polls beginning on October 31.

The disbursements have helped the government to increase development spending by over 103 per cent in the first 52 days of the current financial year when compared with the same period of last year.

As of August 21, the government released Rs57.4bn for development schemes, mostly on recommendations of members of the National Assembly against Rs28.3bn disbursed during the same period of last year under the overall Public Sector Development Programme, showing an increase of 103pc.

According to the Planning Commission, the government had allocated Rs20bn for “Pakistan MDGs and Community Development Programme” during the current financial year, but the entire amount has been disbursed in 52 days – Rs8.4bn in July and Rs12.6bn in August.

The government had allocated Rs12.5bn for community development on recommendations of parliamentarians during the last financial year, but the money could not be utilised pending court cases and was later set aside for deficit financing.

Under the Planning Commission’s policy, 20pc each of allocated funds are disbursed in the first two quarters (40pc till Dec 31), followed by 30pc each in the third and fourth quarters (60pc in the second half of the financial year) – a pattern that is usually commensurate with revenue collection cycle.

On the other hand, disbursements for normal development projects in the first 52 days of the current year have amounted to Rs19bn, compared with Rs22.3bn in the same period last year, down by 15pc. The amount includes Rs11.6bn released to the National Highway Autho­rity against nil disbursement in the same period last year. After excluding this amount, the total development spending in 52 days amounted to Rs7.4bn – 67pc lower than last year.

Planning Commission’s spokesman Asim Khan said the commission had a primary role in allocation of funds for all development projects and programmes, but not in the disbursements for parliamentarians’ scheme.

He said the Prime Minister’s Secretariat looked after the finalisation of development schemes on recommendations of parliamentarians and disbursements were made by the finance division on the advice of the PM Secretariat.

Prime Minister’s spokesman Dr Musadik Malik said development funds were usually allocated and disbursed on recommendations of MNAs and had nothing to do with politics or the coming local government elections.

He said he was not aware if anything unusual was happening in this regard, adding that the prime minister had just returned from abroad and the relevant staff might not be readily available for specific details.

Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2015

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