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Plan to monetise housing shelved!

August 07, 2012

ISLAMABAD, Aug 7: A proposal of the Planning Commission to monetise government housing, which has drawn ire of the public servants, is waiting for a response for the past several months.

“We sent the proposal to the Ministry of Finance, but so far, it is not under consideration and it’s up to the ministry to decide where to send it,” Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr Nadeemul Haq told Dawn on Tuesday.

However, the Ministry of Housing and Works has totally distanced itself from the proposal.

“The ministry has nothing to do with the monetisation plan. It originated from the Planning Commission and they have been pursuing it,” said Joint Secretary Housing Sardar Azmat Shafi.

Earlier, the government had constituted a monetisation committee comprising of officials of the housing ministry, finance ministry, cabinet division and Capital Development Authority (CDA).

It approved the plan and reportedly even sent it to the then premier for a final nod. However, the priorities seem to have changed after the departure of former prime minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani and former housing minister Faisal Saleh Hayat.

Meanwhile, the monetisation plan had triggered protests from government servants presently occupying official residences. They condemned the proposed plan and termed it a ‘big fraud’ and a conspiracy to ‘pave way for commissions, loot and plunder’.

This is a big conspiracy but it will not be successful, said a civil servant currently residing in a government house. The idea of ejecting 17,000 government employees from their legally allotted houses shows the mala fide intent of the concerned authorities, he added.

It is pertinent to mention here that monetisation of official transport implemented during the tenure of the former prime minister has also failed. It reportedly paved way for corruption and misuse of official vehicles.

So much so that some federal secretaries reportedly keep as many as three official cars in their homes for self and families while also drawing Rs95,000 per month as conveyance allowance allowed under the monetisation policy.

The Public Accounts Committee has also taken serious notice of this corruption and misuse and has formed a committee to probe into the issue.