ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s federal government released Rs14.5bn last month for meeting development expenditures of half a dozen ministries, a paltry sum when compared with Rs540bn total development programme for this year as planners struggle to reset priorities in the development budget.
The money was given mainly to the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and the National Health Regulations and Services Coordination Division, show documents of the Ministry of Planning and Development.
Some of the requirements of the Ministry of Railways, Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority, Ministry of Law and Justice and Ministry of Interior were also met.
The released amount is only 3.5 percent of the planning ministry’s development budget component and just 2.7 percent of the total development budget for the current fiscal year 2013-14, which commenced on July 1. The PML-N government has set aside Rs540bn for meeting the development needs of the country and out of that Rs425bn are at the disposal of the Ministry of Planning and Development. An amount of Rs115bn has been earmarked for new initiatives by the government.
At present, the federal government and provinces are in the midst of reprioritising the development budget after the latter objected to the Public Sector Development Programme, arguing that the programme had been finalised without taking their input.
A committee constituted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in early June to reset priorities for development schemes has failed to meet the July 31 deadline, as the planning ministry could not timely initiate the exercise. The committee is not expected to complete its task before the end of August.