Centre to introduce mechanism to monitor projects by provinces

Published June 16, 2021
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry addresses a post-cabinet meeting press conference. — DawnNewsTV
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry addresses a post-cabinet meeting press conference. — DawnNewsTV

ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to introduce a mechanism to monitor and evaluate development projects to be executed by provinces as well as the centre under the Public Sector Development Progrmme (PSDP).

The decision was taken in the federal cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday.

It is believed that the decision was made to target the Sindh government led by the Pakistan Peopel’s Party (PPP).

On the other hand, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said provinces received funds from the centre under the constitution and therefore it was not any “favour or mercy” on part of the federal government.

Sindh chief minister says provinces receive funds from federal govt under Constitution, not a favour

“It has been observed that billions of rupees were given to Sindh but they have not been spent on development projects. There are two types of expenditures: non-development and development. Where these funds have gone if there is no development in Karachi and even interior parts of Sindh,” Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry said in a post-cabinet meeting press conference.

He said for the fiscal year 2021-22, Rs900 PSDP had been proposed and a major chunk of it will be spent in Sindh both by provincial and federal governments.

Talking to Dawn, the minister said a third-party evaluation of the development schemes will be conducted by any engineering firm. “These firms will conduct periodic audit of the development schemes and utilisation of funds after every three months,” he added.

“The third party audit will be conducted not only in provinces but in the centre as well,” he said, adding this (audit) will help in better utilisation of the funds.

In a TV programme, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said the centre first received income from provinces under different heads and then again sent it to the provinces as development funds.

“The centre does not make any favour or mercy to the provinces by giving funds as it is a constitutional requirement,” he added.

Meanwhile, PPP leader Farhatullah Babar said the audit of government funds was conducted by the auditor general of Pakistan which was a constitutional body.

“The Sindh government has always submitted itself thorough audit by the constitutional body,” he added.

Fawad Chaudhry, however, said to a questioner that the government will not give development funds to any MNA and PMA as the Supreme Court had bared the government from doing so.

Talking about opposition-treasury members physical clash in the National Assembly on Tuesday, the minister said the government had offered the opposition dialogue on important national issues, including electoral reforms, but the opposition was ready for this.

He said the opposition should present a “shadow budget” in parliament if it has any objection to the budget announced by the government.

“But we will not tolerate the way the opposition disrupted the budget speech presented by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin on June 11,” he added.

As regards the cabinet’s proceedings, he said the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs told the meeting that legislation on the electoral reforms had been sent to the Senate after its passage from the National Assembly.

The minister said this week the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was given a detailed presentation on the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) by experts.

He said the EVM, developed by the Comsats, Islamabad, was fully compliant with the 36 conditions given by the ECP in that regard.

The minister said all-out efforts were being made to ensure use of the EVM in the next by-election as its use in the polling process was the government’s foremost priority.

In addition, another initiative pertaining to I-voting for the overseas Pakistanis was also in the process, he added.

Good news: Giving details of other important decisions of the cabinet, Fawad Chaudhry said the G-20 countries had suspended the repayment of $ 3.7 billion loan till the year end, bringing a good news for Pakistan’s economy.

“G-20 had approved the second part of Dalhart’s Group Seasonal Index under which it suspended Pakistan’s $ 3.7 billion loan which was to be paid instantly by end of the year,” he added.He said the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had sent four questions to PML-N leader Shehbaz Sharif to answer regarding the Rs25 billion money laundering he allegedly committed from two sugar mills.

He said the cabinet also decided that 42.6pc income share of the Central Business District being established at the Walton Airport site would be given to the Civil Aviation and 57.4pc to the Punjab government.

The Civil Aviation had the ownership of 52 acres and the Punjab government 70 acres, he added.

The minister said the cabinet also approved National Digital Cable Policy besides giving the go-ahead for the deployment of seven community welfare attaches abroad.

He said two officers working in Pakistan’s embassy in Saudi Arabia had also been called backed after complaints were received against them from the Pakistan community there.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2021

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