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April 28, 2016

KP records zero utilisation of funds in over 600 of 842 uplift projects

Peshawar

April 28, 2016

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has failed to launch any mega development project while its planning and development managers could not utilize 15 percent of the amount allocated for 842 projects in various sectors.Its budget throw-forward also rose to the alarming figure of Rs316 billion during the current financial year 2015-16.

Chief Minister Pervez Khattak’s directives to the administrative secretaries on March 2 during the Mid Year Review meeting to ensure the utilization of 50 percent of the funds allocated for new projects and 55 percent of the ongoing projects by the end of March fell on deaf ears. He had also directed 100 percent utilization by June 30, but it remains a tall order. Only seven of the 39 departments and sectors could utilize above or equal to 50 percent of the development budget during the three quarters of the current fiscal.

The provincial government has allocated Rs145 billion for Annual Development Programme (ADP) for the financial year 2015-16. It doesn’t include the Rs32.88 billion foreign assistance for ADP projects. The total development outlay of Rs174.88 billion was allocated for 1,525 projects, including 911 ongoing and 614 new projects.

However, few projects made any headway during the first nine months of the fiscal. A huge number of the projects are still lagging behind with less than 14 percent utilization of funds.

An official, who recently served at the Planning and Development Department (P&D) said on the condition of anonymity that proverbial bureaucratic lethargy in approving, monitoring and evaluating the projects at the P&D end was major cause of low utilization of funds.

He said low utilization of development funds in the province has become the “real pain in the neck” for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led coalition government. He felt the bureaucracy has failed to overcome its incapacity to pace up the funds utilization that in turn would speed up development process in the province.

A document of the Planning and Development Department (P&D) on the utilization of development funds during the first three quarters though shows that utilization of funds on 1,553 projects came to 41.4 percent. However, the fact remains that the overall utilization came to such a high ratio because of the utilization by seven departments that include 110 percent utilization by the Forestry, 64 percent by Roads, and 79 percent by the Agriculture department.

The Forestry department utilized 70 percent of the amount on the much-publicized Billion Tree Tsunami. The Agriculture department spent a sizable amount on distribution of free wheat seeds across the province.

The provincial government has released Rs88.81 billion of its own ADP of Rs145 billion for 1,553 projects of the 39 departments and sectors. However, the provincial functionaries could utilize Rs58.8 billion only. This amounted to 41 percent of the funds. According to the document, its throw-forward liability rose to the alarming figure of Rs316.036 billion.

However, the story of funds utilization on projects when taken in isolation presented a dismal picture.The P&D document shared with The News showed that the development authorities in the province could not utilize a single penny on 662 of the new and ongoing 842 projects. The funds utilization on the rest of the projects remained under 14 percent.

They were supposed to establish the Emergency Rescue Service (Rescue 1122) in districts Kohat, Nowshera, Swabi, Lower Dir and Mansehra and at Rustam and Katlang in Mardan district, but failed to complete any of the project. The utilization was zero percent on six projects. Just Rs4 million of the Rs130 million was spent to initiate establishment of the Rescue 1122 in Nowshera. This amounted to 3.4 percent only of the amount allocated for the project. Similarly, 1.1 percent of the project money has been spent on the spadework for setting up the Rescue 1122 at Rustam in Mardan.

Apart from the brick-and-mortar projects, the provincial bureaucracy also showed its incapability as it was able to complete only two special initiative projects and utilized just 27 percent of the Rs8.1 billion allocated to provide subsidized atta and ghee to the poorest of the poor in the province.

 

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