Sindh minister defends delay in using up funds

Attributes this ‘delay’ to frequent changes in bureaucracy


Hafeez Tunio May 11, 2017
Taking notice of The Express Tribune’s report titled ‘0% utilisation of funds in 346 education, health schemes in Sindh’, the World Bank (WB), which lends money for education reforms in Sindh, on Tuesday expressed its concern over the situation. PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI: Attributing ‘delays’ in executing educational schemes to frequent changes in bureaucracy, the Sindh Education Minister Jam Mahtab Dahar has claimed that international donors – including the World Bank [WB] and the USAID – are fully satisfied with Sindh’s performance.

Taking notice of The Express Tribune’s report titled ‘0% utilisation of funds in 346 education, health schemes in Sindh’, the World Bank [WB], which lends money for education reforms in Sindh, on Tuesday expressed its concern over the situation.

0% utilisation of funds in 346 education, health schemes in Sindh

In a letter addressed to the secretary education, WB’s Country Director for Pakistan Patchamuthu Illangovan had inquired about the reason for non-utilisation of the budget.

Talking to The Express Tribune with reference to the development, Dahar said: “We are vigorously working on different projects and finalised many projects, but there are issues in some schemes where funds have not been utilised mainly because of transfer and posting of secretaries.”

“This is the third secretary since I have assumed charge in August last year. The administrative issues are dealt by secretaries, not the minister,” he said, adding that he had not yet received the WB’s letter officially. He said it was a wrong perception that the education department had not been doing anything.

WB seeks explanation from Sindh for non-utilisation of funds

“Some 351 development schemes are under progress. Out of total released amount of Rs9,198 million, government has spent Rs4,798 million which is 52 per cent of the released money,” he said.

He claimed that education department was fully committed to judiciously utilise the public funds in a transparent manner and in accordance with the rules and procedures.

The minister said the WB had always shown satisfaction on the working interventions by the School Education Department.  “Not only is the WB, but also the USAID is satisfied with our performance,” he said.

The minister said different education reforms were under way.

“These include the School Management Committee, School Consolidation [1,350 Campus School], School Specific Budget, School Infrastructure Development, Promoting Private Schools in Rural Sindh [PPRS] and Collection of Annual School Census through third party,” he added.

The minister said the Sindh Global Partnership for Education project was fully functional under which a monitoring system is in place throughout Sindh and biometric attendance of teaching and non-teaching staff has been done.

“Apart from other reforms, we make sure that girls’ stipends and free textbooks are also directly provided to the beneficiaries at each school in the entire Sindh province,” he said.

Sources privy to the development told The Express Tribune that after the WB's notice, the department has started compiling data and will submit a report to the WB’s country head soon.

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