Austerity rules: PEF slammed over plan for new cars

Published: April 22, 2012

Finance Dept says foundation violating rules in purchase of cars, better pay for employees. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: 

The Finance Department has objected to plans made by the Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) to buy 14 new cars and six motorbikes for its officials as an unsanctioned purchase that goes against the government’s austerity guidelines, The Express Tribune has learnt.

Finance Department officials said that the foundation had also revised the salaries of its employees and changed their designations without approval from the appropriate authorities.

PEF officials said it was an autonomous body not subject to the Punjab government’s rules, but the Finance Department officials said that any spending of the Punjab’s funds was subject to the rules.

The Finance Department has declared both initiatives unlawful and directed the PEF’s management not to implement the plans, a senior department official said on the condition of anonymity.

The PEF was established in 1991 as an autonomous statutory body operating as a non-profit to promote education among the poor. It was restructured in 2004 to support private sector efforts for education and has an annual fund of Rs10 billion. The foundation is led by a managing director, three deputy managing directors and eight directors. A 15-member board of directors looks after the financial and administrative affairs of the foundation.

The foundation recently issued purchase orders for 14 new cars and six motorbikes for its officials without the approval of the austerity committee headed by the finance minister. The austerity guidelines call for a complete ban on vehicle purchases. Exceptions to this, they state, must first be approved by the austerity committee and the chief minister.

During the first week of April, the foundation introduced a ‘Human Resource Manual’ under which employees were given new titles and pay raises. Finance Department officials said this too was done without their consent. In this re-structuring process, audit officers, web administrators, system analysts, account officers and senior software engineers were declared deputy directors. Accountants, assistant project officers, computer programmers, research analysts, account assistants and audit assistants were declared assistant directors.

A senior Finance Department officer said that the department had noted the change of nomenclature and increase in salaries and directed the PEF to stop it. He said that the PEF had obtained approval for the change in nomenclature from the government’s executive committee instead of the finance committee, which was the relevant forum. “Although it is a foundation, the government’s rules and policies apply as it is being run with public money,” he said.

He voiced concerns that the foundation was spending money meant for poor students on new cars and better pay.

PEF Deputy Managing Director Amer Iftikhar said he was unaware of plans to purchase new vehicles, but the board had approved the nomenclature changes.

PEF Chairman Raja Muhammad Anwer said the foundation was an autonomous body governed by an act and policy formation lay with its board of directors. He said the foundation was autonomous in financial and administrative affairs. He said that the board had approved the purchase of vehicles.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2012. 

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Reader Comments (8)

  • shazada zahid mahmoud malik loan
    Apr 22, 2012 - 1:02PM

    Well this is another name for corruption by other means. I think it could be the last straw for some people if this goes on for ever and ever. We the Pakistanis living abroad will completely stop any money reaching the country unless this corruption by other means comes to an end.

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  • salam akbar
    Apr 22, 2012 - 2:07PM

    punjab education foundation is spending this money for the benefit of its top management while this money should be spent on the education of poor and needy students. will raja anwar wake up to stop this corruption.

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  • ashfaq ahmad
    Apr 22, 2012 - 6:35PM

    this is the worst type of corruption in which money given by the world bank to the punjab government for the education of poor and deserving students is used by the top management of punjab education foundation to enjoy free rides on chauffeur driven limousines. this is the worst part of this foundation which was set up to give free education to the needy. will khadam e punjab shahbaz sharif wake up to take notice of this barbarian corruption under his nose?

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  • samina ahmad
    Apr 23, 2012 - 9:02PM

    will punjab chief minister shahbaz sharif wake up to take notice of this plunder of resources

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  • Apr 26, 2012 - 6:50AM

    A propose of a news item “PEF Slammed over plan for new cars” published in Daily The Express Tribune Lahore on April 22, I, as spokesman of the Punjab Education Foundation, would like to term this news item as concocted, fabricated and beyond facts. This news item, in my opinion, is aimed to malign the good efforts and working of Punjab Education Foundation which is the most successful model of free education in Punjab.
    It is important to note that Punjab Education Foundation is an autonomous statuary body which has its own Board of Directors to formulate policy and ensure its implementation through dedicated staff, hired at market driven competitive packages so that they could work with full zeal and dedication. It is to be noted that contents of the story are self-contradictory, ambiguous and show the contentious approach of the Tribune Reporter.
    I would also clarify that the purchase of vehicles is to be carried out by the high ranking official of the finance department and therefore no violation of law would happen as it is being supervised by the finance department itself. The Punjab Education Foundation is in the process of expansion and the vehicles will be utilized for official purposes only.
    The working of Punjab Education Foundation has been lauded by the World Bank and other International agencies and the Punjab Government has also given it Rs. 10 billion keeping in view its consummate performance. From Mrs. Aruj Salman Deputy Director (Communication), Punjab Education Foundation.

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  • akram ali
    Apr 27, 2012 - 10:23PM

    this story seems to be genuine and therefore requires thorough probe by the government. its pity to see that corrupt in the PEF are bent upon to use world bank money for their cars in violation of rules. chief minister punjab should wake up.

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  • shahnaz akhtar
    Apr 30, 2012 - 8:28PM

    this is very shameful act by gubernatorial management of the punjab education foundation who are using money given by the world bank for giving free education to the poor children in punjab for enjoying cozy rides at public expenses. this is really very sad thing and exposes shape of good governance in punjab; wake up shahbaz sharif please.

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  • KARAMAT ALI CHAUDHRY
    May 5, 2012 - 5:39PM

    it is very sad to know that Punjab Education Foundation is using students money for the purchase of latest model cars so that its top boses could enjoy cosy rides. It seems that Khadmi Punjab Shahbaz Sharif is sleeping and he should wake up to initiate enquiry in to the matter so that this money could only be used for the education of the poor children who cannot go to schools.

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