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ISLAMABAD: The Planning Commission on Wednesday informed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the federal government had allocated Rs866 billion for 1,018 development schemes of different ministries.

The Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms while giving a presentation to the PAC stated that in addition to the uplift schemes, there were 1,022 special projects being undertaken by the federal government, of them 582 were in progress and 420 had been initiated recently.

The PAC was briefed that the estimated cost of 1,022 projects was Rs1,318bn and these project were expected to be completed within three to five years.

However, the PAC chairman pointed out that since there was a routine delay of projects on one pretext or another, therefore, in case these projects were not completed on schedule then their cost may exceed to trillions of rupees because of escalation and other variables.

Chairman laments that government launches new projects without paying attention to those pending

He said the government initiated new projects without paying attention to the pending ones.

He criticised the slow progress on the Green Line project — a rapid transit line of the Karachi metro bus — as the Planning Commission disclosed that so far only 60 per cent of work had been completed. The project was started in February last year.

The PAC expressed dissatisfaction over the presentation and directed the secretary Planning Commission to brief the committee in detail on the entire development schemes in the next meeting scheduled to be held in the first week of October.

Dr Arif Alvi, a PAC member from Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf wrote a letter to PAC chairman Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah for conducting probe on imposition of penalty on Habib Bank (HBL) New York Branch in the United Sates.

The HBL, last month, had announced its decision to wind up operations in New York following intimation from the state’s financial regulator that it sought to impose a hefty penalty of nearly $630 million on the bank.

The bank, however, had decided to contest in US courts the notice sent by New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) about the imposition of a civil monetary penalty amounting to $629,625,000.

Mr Alvi asked the PAC chairman to constitute a committee to probe the issue. He suggested the investigation team should investigate the relevant officials of the State Bank of Pakistan, as well.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2017