Punjab may exhaust last quarter funds

LAHORE, March 10: The Punjab government is learnt to have started releasing in advance funds of the last quarter of the current financial year generating fears that it intends to leave nothing behind after the completion of its term.

Official sources informed Dawn on Sunday that the last quarter of the current fiscal year would begin from April 1. But the provincial government had decided to release its funds in advance to make payments for the ongoing schemes, leaving nothing or little for the remaining fiscal year.

They said the government had also started releasing budget for the operational expenditure of its departments in advance. So far, contingency budget of departments like health and home had been released in advance.

The contingency expenditure includes petrol for official vehicles, stationery and repair of machinery.

Earlier, the departments were given funds for this expenditure in three installments --- first two of 20 per cent and the last of 30 per cent, creating immense problems for them in running their day-to-day affairs.

Sources said as per an election commission direction the province could not launch a new development project. But the government was utilising all its funds for the already initiated schemes.

Sources in the provincial finance department did confirm that funds of the last quarter of the current fiscal year were being released in advance to make payments for the ongoing schemes. But they said this would not exhaust the provincial kitty.

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