PAKISTAN has received an unprecedented response from the donors conference on rehabilitation of flood-hit areas held early last month in Geneva.—AFP/file
PAKISTAN has received an unprecedented response from the donors conference on rehabilitation of flood-hit areas held early last month in Geneva.—AFP/file

ISLAMABAD: The government on Tuesday assured the international community to keep a robust check on $10.92 billion pledges made for flood-related resilience recovery and rehabilitation in the country and ensure transparent utilisation through a third-party audit.

At the first meeting of the Policy and Strategy Committee (PSC) on Resilient Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Framework (4RF), the stakeholders including federal ministries, provincial governments and regional governments of Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan discussed at length the terms of reference (TORs) of the committee.

Based on their recommendations, it was decided that the PSC will examine and approve 4RF’s policies, plans, strategies, and standards and ensure fast-track approval of projects under 4RF. “Similarly, the committee will ensure financial control and recommend timely independent audits of programs and projects by the Auditor General of Pakistan and independent third-party audits”, said an announcement after the meeting.

It was also decided that the committee will undertake a periodical review of procurement procedures and sectoral policies to ensure the timely implementation of 4RF. Besides, it will oversee the functioning of the Imple­mentation Management Committee, Recovery and Reconstruction Unit (RRU) at federal and provincial levels. The PSC will review progress every month.

The committee noted that pledges from the international community had touched $10.92bn and it was now the responsibility of the federal and provincial governments to ensure effective utilisation while addressing all fiduciary issues.

The meeting presided over by planning minister Ahsan Iqbal was attended by the State Minister for Finance Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah and representatives from Punjab, KP, AJK and GB.

Mr Iqbal asked all the relevant ministries and divisions to make a timeline for the projects so that they can be implemented timely. During the meeting, it was also decided to conduct a third-party evaluation to ensure the transparency of the projects.

It is noted that the 4RF would be materialised in three phases including short-term up to one- year, medium-term up to three years and long-term up to five to seven years’ period. The 4FR document suggested effective coordination and participation arrangement among federal and provincial governments, development partners, donors, international and national NGOs, academic and private sectors.

Similarly, another committee Recovery and Reconstruction Unit (RRU) was also established on post-flood reconstruction projects envisaged in the 4RF. Led by Chief Economist Planning Commission, RRU is required to coordinate the work of line ministries and provincial governments, and provide periodic progress reports to the Policy & Strategy Committee and ensure enforcement of minimum standards for rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2023

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