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Wednesday April 17, 2024

Sindh govt advised to halt district development programmes

As per summary, MEC of P&D Department conducted monitoring of district annual development program ADP schemes of Karachi, Jacobabad

By Imdad Soomro
February 21, 2024
Sindh caretaker chief minister Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar chairs a meeting at CM House to address civic issues in the city of Karachi on December 26, 2023. — X/@SindhCMHouse
Sindh caretaker chief minister Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar chairs a meeting at CM House to address civic issues in the city of Karachi on December 26, 2023. — X/@SindhCMHouse

KARACHI: The Sindh Planning and Development (P&D) Board has recommended the Sindh chief minister to discontinue development programs being conducted and supervised by the district management and Sindh government departments at the district level from the current financial year to secure funds from misappropriation.

A summary moved by P&D Board Chairman Shakeel Ahmad Mangnejo said funds saved from the district annual development program (ADP) might be diverted to provincial annual development program for more productive, well-planned, visible and strategically important schemes to achieve better results from public development expenditure.

As per the summary, the Monitoring and Evaluation Cell (MEC) of the Sindh Planning and Development (P&D) Department conducted monitoring of district annual development program (ADP) schemes of Karachi, Jacobabad, Matiari and Kashmore-Kandhkot.

As per the summary, the MEC reported serious financial indiscipline, mismanagement of public exchequer and irregularities while making disbursement of district development funds by the Works and Services Department. According to MEC, out of 134 ongoing district ADP schemes of Jacobabad, only 29 were satisfactory and advance payments were released for 49 schemes.

Moreover, for 35 schemes, payments were made without any physical work or ground progress.

It is pertinent to mention here that all these schemes were approved before the financial year 2022-23 and progressing at a snail's pace as reported.

The release and expenditure trend of district ADP schemes of Jacobabad for last five years reveal that out of allotted funds of Rs 2.9 billion, an amount of 1.7 billion was released against which expenditure of Rs 1.6 billion (93%) were incurred till June 2023.

The monitoring report of 201 district ADP schemes of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) reveal that the progress of only 45 schemes (22.39%) was satisfactory whereas the remaining 156 schemes (77.61%) were found unsatisfactory.

Similarly, the field monitoring visits of 204 ADP schemes of District Kashmore @ Kandhkot were conducted, in which only 83 schemes (40.68%) were considered satisfactory, while progress on the remaining 121 schemes (59.3 19%) was found unsatisfactory.

The condition of ADP schemes of District Matiari was not different from others.

The M&E Cell conducted field monitoring visits of 225 schemes. Out of these, only 111 schemes (49.55%) were found satisfactory and 111 schemes (49.559%) were declared unsatisfactory whereas work on 3 (01.33%) schemes had not commenced.

The summary says this practice reflects absence or very weak institutional mechanism from planning to execution of such development schemes at the district level, which at times are not even traceable.

The district administration, being the custodian of ADP program, cannot be absolved from the responsibility of efficiently managing the district development portfolio.

Their monitoring framework is either invisible or negligible. In terms of quality and utility, the schemes pertaining to provincial Building and Public Heath Engineering Department, Water Supply & Drainage, RO plants, Education, Works and others in various districts require serious attention and immediate measures for their rectification.

The summary concluded that an overview of the entire district ADP portfolio of the province for last five years depicts a dismal picture of poor utilization of public resources. An amount of Rs 130 billion was allocated for 24 districts including Karachi during the last five years and against this allocation, an amount of Rs 77.9 billion was released, and Rs 69.5 billion (89%) were utilized.

Apparently, this huge public investment made at the district level could not achieve the desired results of provision of better infrastructure and improved services at the grassroots level.

The chairman P&D recommended that in view of the position explained above and keeping in view the scarcity of financial resources in the province, an appropriate course of action may be discontinuation of the district ADP program from the current financial year.

The funds saved so may be diverted to the provincial ADP for more productive, well-planned, visible and strategically important schemes to achieve better results from public development expenditure.