PAC urges confidentiality for defence contractors

Published August 4, 2023
MNA Noor Alam Khan chairs a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday. — Photo courtesy: Twitter
MNA Noor Alam Khan chairs a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday. — Photo courtesy: Twitter

ISLAMABAD: Public Accounts Committee Chairman MNA Noor Alam Khan on Thursday directed the government to keep the names and details of contractors confidential to keep India from sabotaging Pakistan’s defence deals.

“We request the Speaker Nat­io­nal Assembly, Chairman Senate and the Auditor General of Pakis­tan to remove names of defence contractors from paper­­work and websites. Names of defence contractors should not be made public through whom Pakistan buys missiles and aircraft parts,” Mr Khan said.

These directions were issued after the PAC reviewed the audit reports of the Ministry of Water Resources for the years 2019-20.

The meeting began with a sense of displeasure over the absence of the principal accounting officer.

Nonetheless, the PAC expressed disappointment with the Ministry of Water Resources for not completing projects that were started two decades ago and now cost twice as much.

The committee pointed out that the Kachhi Canal project, which was started in October 2002 and supposed to be completed by Septem­ber 2007, is still under construction after two decades, with a cost escalation of more than 150 per cent, from Rs31.2 billion to Rs81.35bn.

Similarly, the Right Bank Outfall Drain Project, initiated in July 1994, was delayed by 22 years, resul­­ting in the government paying a hef­ty Rs13.11bn at around 300pc higher cost.

The Allai Khwar Hydropower Project was delayed 13 years. It was started in June 2003 and was initially scheduled to be completed in June 2007. However, the project’s cost to the government increased by 91pc, from Rs8.6bn to Rs16.5bn.

The committee also objected to the delays in the Golen Gol Hydropower project, which was delayed 12 years and completed after an escalated cost of 313pc, increasing from Rs7.035bn to 29.077bn. The project, which was initiated in July 2002 with a planned completion in 2006, was actually finished in January 2018.

Similarly, the PAC drew attention of the Ministry of Water towards a dozen inquiries that had not reached a final conclusion.

Mr Khan said the committee had not received any report from the ministry regarding the inquiry into the irregular award of contracts for leftover works through various orders in violation of PPRA rules, resulting in a loss of Rs1.4bn. Additionally, the ministry had not submitted a report on the unjustified increase in the excavated quantities of hard rock and the disposal of surplus material, resulting in a loss of Rs638.5 million.

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2023

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