Less release for development

EVERY year governments make big claims and also take credit for substantially enhancing the size of development budget but when it comes to release or utilisation of these funds, both federal and provincial governments appear to be faltering. This year too is no different from previous ones as the federal government had announced a whopping amount of Rs 800b for uplift projects and in six months it has only released Rs 279b, which is less than thirty five percent of the total development allocations. Though ending power outages is officially the top most priority of the government, yet releases for electricity projects accounted for about twelve percent in the first six months of current fiscal year.
This sorry state of affair has been continuing over the last many years and nothing concrete has been done to improve the situation even by PML-N government whose focus primarily remains on infrastructure and other development projects. A timely release of funds indeed is pivotal for timely completion of projects, otherwise, delays only shoot-up cost of projects, a huge loss for national exchequer and common man. It has also been observed that a major chunk of annual allocations is released in the closing months of the year. This practice in our view only compromises quality of utilisation and used for unnecessary purchases and payments are made to contractors even if the projects remain unfinished. Due to non-releases of funds, ministries and their attached departments are also currently faced with many problems and failing to run their day-to-day affairs. The situation warrants that PM Nawaz Sharif personally takes notice of the matter and issue timely directions to relevant ministries to ensure timely approval and release of funds in order to ensure smooth execution of projects and functioning of government departments. In fact there is need to review existing disbursement mechanism with the one which is more pragmatic and ensures timely completion of projects.

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