Govt disburses over Rs61 billion for former parliamentarians’ schemes


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By Shahzad Paracha

ISLAMABAD: In the first four months of the current fiscal year, the federal government has released over Rs61 billion for former parliamentarians as part of the Sustainable Development Goals Achievement Programme (SDGs), specifically designated for discretionary schemes of lawmakers.

This move, however, has sparked controversy, as it accounts for a significant 68% of the annual total allocation and is considered a breach of the finance ministry’s guidelines.

Allocation details

According to a report from the planning commission, the Finance Division released Rs61.3 billion to the Cabinet Division under the SDGs, violating the prescribed quarterly release pattern.

Sources revealed that the government, by relaxing the rules, has expedited the release, and around Rs27.1 billion have so far been spent from July to October.

Traditionally, the finance ministry authorizes the release of 15% in the first quarter, 20% in the second, 25% in the third, and the remaining 40% in the last quarter. In this case, the government’s unconventional approach raises concerns, especially as the interim government is gradually releasing the funds earmarked for parliamentarians’ projects.

Sources said that the previous Pakistan Development Movement government initially allocated Rs90 billion but it promptly released Rs61 billion during its tenure. The interim government, following amendments to the Elections Act of 2017, now has the authority to release funds for ongoing schemes and aims to disburse the entire allocated Rs90 billion before the elections.

Overall government spending

The planning commission’s report reveals that, in the first four months, the government has spent a total of Rs76 billion out of Rs274 billion released, including Rs250 million for the prime minister’s initiatives. Additionally, Rs25 billion has been allocated to provinces and special areas, previously under FD/KA&GB, from the total earmarked sum of Rs166 billion for the current fiscal year.

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