Provincial budget allocation: Officials indecisive over outlay for development

Over 71% of last year’s development budget was not used: progress report.


Hafeez Tunio May 31, 2011

KARACHI:


As the planning and development, and the finance departments of the Sindh government give the final shape to the upcoming development budget, officials say they are yet to finalise the total outlay for development.


The Express Tribune has learnt that two proposals for the upcoming Annual Development Programme (ADP) have been drafted so far. The first proposes a budget of around Rs90 billion, based upon last year’s revised budget of Rs77 billion with the mandatory 10 per cent increase as well as outlay for several other amenities. The second one suggests a figure of around Rs120 billion, with the 10 per cent increase on the original 2010-11 budget of Rs115 billion, which was revised after the floods.

The date of the announcement of the budget has yet to be announced but it is expected to be presented on June 9. Meanwhile, The Express Tribune has gained access to the preliminary figures of the amount allocated to different sectors, which are likely to be altered with the approval of the chief minister.

According to the initial draft of the planning and development department, the total outlay of the budget is likely to be between Rs100 to Rs120 billion. A copy of the budget draft reveals that importance is being given to special initiatives. Under these initiatives, public-private partnership schemes will be started and Rs20.65 billion have been allocated for it.

The additional development secretary, Ishaque Lashari, said that while they have formed different proposals, they have yet to finalise the development budget. However, sources said that it has been agreed that of the total amount, 80 per cent would be used for on-going schemes, while 20 per cent would be dedicated to new schemes.

Last year’s budget

The official progress report says that around 71 per cent of the Sindh development budget for 2010-11 was not spent despite the passage of three quarters (July-March). The provincial planning department has cited a variety of reasons for this.

According to its progress report, the overal utilisation of uplift funds from July 2010 to March this year stands at around Rs21.612 billion, which is 28 per cent of the total outlay. Of the revised budget of Rs77 billion, only Rs37.5 billion was released by the provincial finance department. This is 57.6 per cent of the total amount allocated to Sindh. The remaining amount, sources added, was not released by the federal government. However, of the Rs37.5 billion available with the province, onlyRs21.612 billion was utilised. Government officials failed to provide valid reasons for not using the entire allocated amount.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Dr Kaiser Bengali, the adviser to the chief minister on planning and development, said that the federal government released the amount after a delay, which is why many schemes could not be completed and the amount could not be spent. Meanwhile, most of the MPAs belonging to the treasury and opposition expressed their grievances over the non-release of funds from the development budget for their projects. They expressed their concerns during a briefing on the development budget given by Dr Bengali in the committee room of the Sindh Assembly on Monday. There were of the view that many development schemes have been ignored because the funds were not available.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2011.

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