Rs4.84bn Covid fund still unutilised, NA told

Published October 27, 2020
The National Assembly was informed that an amount of Rs4.84 billion was lying unutilised in the account created for receiving donations and funds from the public and overseas Pakistanis for the fight against Covid-19. — APP/File
The National Assembly was informed that an amount of Rs4.84 billion was lying unutilised in the account created for receiving donations and funds from the public and overseas Pakistanis for the fight against Covid-19. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly was informed on Monday that an amount of Rs4.84 billion was lying unutilised in the account created for receiving donations and funds from the public and overseas Pakistanis for the fight against Covid-19.

The information was provided by the government through a written reply to a question asked by MNA Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal.

The house was informed that out of Rs4.84bn, Rs1.06bn had been collected through international donations and Rs3.78bn through domestic donations.

“No funds have been released to the provinces, including the governments of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan,” said the reply submitted by the minister in-charge of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division. “An amount of Rs4,84,24,26,121.61 is available at present since no funds have been utilised,” it added.

PTI government has slashed advertisement budget for media by 39pc since 2018

Taking to Twitter on April 1, Prime Minister Imran Khan had urged the nation to come forward and donate to the Prime Minister’s Coronavirus Relief Fund that had been established to help those “who have been made destitute by the lockdown” imposed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. “[The fund] will be used to take care of all those who have been made destitute by the lockdown,” he had said.

The citizens had been asked to send their donations to account number 4162786786 at the National Bank of Pakistan, Main Branch Karachi.

The premier had stated that those depositing the money in the fund would be given relaxation in taxes, adding that the money would be utilised to provide food and cash to 15 million people in need.

39pc cut in ad budget for media

The government informed the National Assembly that it had cut down the advertisement budget for electronic and print media by nearly 39 per cent since coming to power in 2018.

The information was placed before the house by Information and Broadcasting Minister Shibli Faraz while replying to a question by PML-N’s Barjees Tahir.

The minister, through a written reply, told the assembly that the government had released advertisements to the electronic and print media to the tune of Rs2.58bn during the financial year 2019-20. Giving a break-down, he said that out of Rs2.58bn, the government had paid Rs2.13bn to the print media and Rs457 million to the electronic media.

Last year, he said, the government had released a total of Rs2.64bn and a large chunk of it, Rs2.6bn, was for the print media whereas the electronic media had received only Rs369m.

The data clearly shows that the present PTI government has drastically cut the advertisement budget for the media, particularly for the electronic media.

The previous PML-N government, during its last year (2017-18) in office, had released advertisements worth Rs4.22bn — Rs3.39bn for the print media and Rs822m for the electronic media. And in the year 2016-17, the PML-N government had released Rs5.83bn — Rs3.83bn for the print media and Rs997m for the electronic media.

Published in Dawn, October 27th, 2020

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