ISLAMABAD: Development funds for 1,125 schemes across the country could not be released since the start of current fiscal year as the government has yet to appoint secretary of the Planning and Development Division (P&D), official sources said on Thursday.
“Neither the Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has appointed secretary Planning and Development Division nor the Establishment Division has given acting charge to anyone due to which development funds for 1,125 schemes have not been released,” an official source said.
Former secretary P&D Asif Bajwa got retired from the service on July 3rd, 2012. The post of the secretary has been vacant since then. A secretary of the division also acts as principle accounting officer (PAO) of the division concerned.
A spokesman of the P&D division confirmed that no funds have been released so far pending appointment of the secretary of the division.
But another top official, who had worked in the Planning Commission at a key slot for several years, was of the view that the approval of secretary P&D was not required for release of funds as it would be basically demand of the executing agency. The P&D was only the recommending ministry that only authorises release of the development funds. “There is no need to seek approval of PAO of the P&D for release of funds,” he opined during an internal meeting of the Planning Commission for tackling this issue arising out of the non-appointment of the secretary P&D division.
Sources said that efforts were made to resolve the matter internally at the level of P&D division but these efforts remained futile as they were advised to refrain from finalising any mechanism that could invite audit objections at a later stage.
The government had allocated Rs350 billion under the federal share of the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the current fiscal year. Total cost of 1,125 development schemes stood at over Rs2,200 billion and according to the World Bank’s assessment there are certain development projects which cannot be completed in the next 50 to 100 years keeping in view the existing pace of allocations.
Sources also revealed that the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) required reconstitution with the approval of President Asif Ali Zardari. On recommendation of the prime minister, the president would notify reconstitution of the ECNEC but this has not been done so far.
The P&D has forwarded 35 summaries for consideration of the ECNEC but the Cabinet Division has not so far convened meeting of the ECNEC pending its reconstitution.
There are a total of 1,125 development schemes in the PSDP list for FY13 with an estimated cost of over Rs2,200 billion including Rs609 billion for 78 projects of water sector, 106 projects of power sector costing Rs516 billion, 66 projects for science and technology costing Rs10 billion, 37 projects for Pakistan Railways with cost of Rs380 billion, two projects for ports and shipping with cost of Rs6.8 billion, 29 projects for planning and development division with cost of Rs106 billion, five projects of logistics with cost of Rs21 billion, for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan governments there is a block allocation of Rs30 billion, 105 projects for interior ministry with cost of Rs48 billion, 42 projects for information technology with cost of Rs9.8 billion, 31 projects for industries with cost of Rs3.7 billion, 56 projects for housing and works with cost of Rs14.7 billion, 163 projects for Higher Education Commission with cost of Rs153.7 billion, 74 projects of Finance Division with cost of Rs136.9 billion, 81 projects of Communication Division with cost of Rs558 billion, 24 projects of Defence Division with cost of Rs23 billion and 28 projects of Cabinet Division having cost of Rs10 billion.