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Defence services secured biggest supplementary grant

Updated June 24, 2019

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Govt exceeded its sanctioned expenditure limit by Rs222bn without parliamentary approval, says finance ministry. — AFP/File
Govt exceeded its sanctioned expenditure limit by Rs222bn without parliamentary approval, says finance ministry. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The defence services secured the biggest supplementary grant of more than Rs36 billion during the outgoing fiscal year before seeking about 4.7 per cent higher allocations for next fiscal year.

The Ministry of Finance has reported to the parliament that the government exceeded by Rs222bn its sanctioned expenditure limit without parliamentary approval. Therefore, it sought Rs106bn regular supplementary grant from the parliament as fait accompli. The remaining Rs116bn amount pertained to surrender from one grant to another or foreign grants and would be treated as technical supplementary grants.

Of these regular supplementary grants, the largest supplementary grant of Rs36bn was given to the defence services which spent these funds without prior approval of the parliament. Of these, Rs20bn was spent on fencing and lighting of Pak-Afghan border, Rs5bn as special duty allowance on Pakistan Army and Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and Rs5.89bn recurring cost of Special Security Division for the army.

As such, the documents showed that the defence services had been allocated about Rs1.100 trillion in the current year’s budget which was later increased to Rs1.138tr. The government has allocated Rs1.152tr to the defence services for next year, showing an increase of about 4.8pc over the original allocation for current year or 1.4pc over the revised budget.

Govt exceeded its sanctioned expenditure limit by Rs222bn without parliamentary approval, says finance ministry ...

This is in addition to Rs370.5bn allocation for separate development expenditure of the defence division for next fiscal year compared to Rs153.5bn spent under this account during current fiscal year, showing an increase of 160pc or Rs217bn.

When put together, the total allocations for the defence services will amount to Rs1.522tr next year, compared to Rs1.253tr during current year, showing an increase of about 21.5pc.

Another Rs4.3bn was released by the finance ministry as shortfall of petroleum expenditure to the PAF and remaining expenses of community bunkers on the borders, Junior Naval Academy, Ormara, repair and maintenance of Cessna Grand aircraft and a helicopter of Pakistan Rangers.

Another unapproved major expenditure overrun of Rs26bn has now been placed before the parliament for ex-post facto approval that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government announced in its supplementary budget in September 2018 as subsidy on liquefied natural gas (LNG) for industrial consumers, but forgot to includes it in budget documents while seeking parliamentary approval at the time.

Also, another major supplementary grant of Rs12.2bn is being sought for the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training. The ministry had originally got Rs1.5bn budget but utilised almost 10 times greater funds in disregard to financial rules that do not allow supplementary expenses greater than original budget.

Another major expenditure overrun pertained to diversion of Rs24bn earmarked for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects to development schemes recommended by the parliamentarians through the cabinet division. This also violated the financial rules because the cabinet division had an original budget of about Rs14.8bn and the supplementary grant was greater than the allocation.

The finance ministry also issued Rs520 million supplementary grants to the aviation division to meets expense overruns by the Airport Security Force and Rs190m supplementary budget as litigation cost against the Karkey case being fought against a Turkish power project.

Published in Dawn, June 24th, 2019