PESHAWAR: Sixteen of the now defunct 25 district governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa posted zero development expenditure out of the funds released to them during the June-December period of the current financial year, it is learnt.
According to official sources, the provincial government distributed Rs478.7 million to 25 districts during the first six months of the current fiscal in accordance with their respective share stipulated under the Provincial Finance Commission award. Of that amount, Rs309 million went to the 16 districts that could not utilise a single rupee bringing under question the purpose of the district development fund.
These districts included Abbottabad, Buner, Charsadda, Chitral, Dera Ismail Khan, Lower Dir, Karak, Kohat, Kohistan, Lakki Marwat, Malakand, Peshawar, Shangla, Swat, Tank and Torghar.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government reverted to the old local government system from January 1, 2013 after abolishing local governments (district governments and tehsil/town municipal administrations) in all 25 districts, reviving the old system that too, was regarded as a failure.
However, before their abolition, the 25 districts governments received development funds from the province as per their respective share under the PFC award for carrying out their district specific development works.
Of the total amount of Rs478.7 million released to the district governments during the first six months of the current financial year, only Rs51 million could be spent. It makes 5.2 per cent of their total cumulative annual fund of Rs1 billion.
The government has earmarked Rs1.67 billion for the districts’ annual development programmes, including Rs1 billion for the district administrations, Rs105 million for the town/tehsil municipal administrations, Rs165 million for development schemes to be carried out in line with the provincial chief minister’s instructions and Rs82 million for schemes to be carried out as per the provincial finance minister’s instructions.
Apart from Rs478.7 million released to the district government, another sum of Rs106 million was released to the town/municipal administration in the July-December period of the current financial year, an amount of Rs50 million was provided for carrying out chief minister’s schemes and Rs24.3 million for the finance minister minister’s share of the development fund.
While an amount of Rs51 million was spent by the district governments and the town/municipal administrations jointly spent a mere amount of Rs12.7 million, expenditure against the chief minister’s and the provincial finance minister’s respective shared stood at zero.
A Peshawar-based senior official development planner told Dawn that several of the districts (governments) started the current financial year with funds from the previous financial years as a result of which they could not utilise much of the funds released during the first half of the current financial year.
“They jointly had around Rs585 million at the start of the current financial year on July 1, 2012,” said the official.
However, ironically, they could not even spend the carried forward funds by 100 per cent during the first two quarters of the current fiscal.
According to official figures, the district administrations utilised only Rs230 million out of their funds that they carried forward to their accounting books from the previous financial years.
“There are at least five districts that posted zero expenditure against their 2012-13 uplift fund: most KP districts spent not a single penny carried forward funds,” said the official.
These five districts include Bannu that started the current fiscal year with a total carried forward amount of Rs8.64 million, Charsadda (Rs12.9 million), Hangu (Rs18.3 million), Kohistan (Rs17 million), and Lakki Marwat (Rs10.6 million).
According to an official document available with Dawn, three districts, including Charsadda, Kohistan and Lakki Marwat, did nothing in terms of utilising the development funds that were available to them, neither from their fresh financial releases made available to them during the current fiscal nor from the funds that they carried forward from their previous financial year’s accounts.
The poor performance by the district development agencies, according to official accounts, was nothing new as they have been putting up dismal performance even in the previous years.
Giving an example from the financial year 2010-11, the development planner told Dawn that the town/tehsil municipal administrations utilised slightly over Rs12 million out of a total of Rs240 million released to them that fiscal for carrying out small area development schemes, including improving pavements, streets, sewage lines etc.
“A worst situation is expected this year as the district specific development activities are in shambles following the revival of the old local government system,” said the official, adding that the new district-based setups had not yet geared up towards paying attention to their development portfolio as they were finding it hard to streamline their administrative setup.