IT ministry has funds but nowhere to spend them


Express May 19, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Plans to attract millions of rupees worth of investment in the information technology sector could not be implemented in 2008.

This was due to capacity constraints as the top bosses of the information technology ministry failed to establish IT centres despite having the money in hand, officials said. Secretary Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Najeebullah Khan, in a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee admitted that in 2008 due to a lack of capacity one-third of money could not be spent.

He said three information technology parks were planned in Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi to attract investment but none of them could be established. “The IT ministry, which is supposed to help the government departments adopt stateof- the-art technology to meet the challenges of the 21st century, is itself not IT-enabled,” disclosed Najeebullah Khan. The office of the Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue (AGPR) caught the IT ministry’s inefficiency.

In a report, it said the ministry could not spend Rs965 million out of Rs3 billion allocated for development projects. “In spite of having the funds, 38 projects could not be initiated,” said the AGPR. According to the General Financial Rules, secretaries of the ministries and divisions will ensure full utilisation of the allocated budget. A saving or excess of up to five per cent is permissible. However, PAC has told the secretaries that no saving and no excess are allowed.

On the other hand, the office of the Auditor General of Pakistan unearthed Rs1.42 billion irregularities and misappropriations out of the amount spent on various projects. Director General Commercial Audit told PAC that the management of the National T e l e c o m m u n i c a t i o n Corporation (NTC) illegally transferred its assets to Etisalat, a Dubai-based firm running the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited.

This transfer caused a loss of Rs298 million to the national kitty. “The NTC bears the cost and the PTCL earns the money,” said Auditor General of Pakistan Tanvir Ali Agha. PAC summoned former management of the NTC and the regulator of the IT sector, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), to explain the reasons for the illegal transfer. PAC also directed the secretary to immediately stop illegal payments of cash reward and bonuses to the employees and get regularised Rs9 million previous payments from the Ministry of Finance.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 20th, 2010.

COMMENTS (2)

Umayr Masud | 10 years ago | Reply How easily after a year or two these people come and tell people things they already know. No one is taken to task because they've already left, and whats really amazing is the bureaucrats which are in the system just get away by saying we were ordered to do so. Rubbish ..
Awab Alvi | 10 years ago | Reply They have been sitting on these funds for an eternity - a simple method would be to hand a bare minimum of 10,000 or more to each student that walks out of an IT institute with promise of more money if he comes back with an innovative idea, next step to give him a little more to develop on the idea - and so hence forth you create a chain of development - IF in case the kid never returns you only loose 10K - but if you tempt him long enough he shall return - he shall return
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