Govt to abolish fund allocation for gifts, entertainment

Previous govt had earmarked Rs516 million for the purpose

Zafar Bhutta September 15, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has decided to abolish budgetary allocation amounting to Rs516 million for gifts and entertainment under its austerity drive.

The allocation had been made by the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, which was approved by parliament.

Of the total allocation, Rs3.5 million had been earmarked under the head of entertainment and gifts at the disposal of the Prime Minister House.

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A case in that regard was presented in a recent meeting of the cabinet during discussion on the discretionary funds set aside for different ministries and divisions.

During the meeting, the cabinet was informed that the Finance Division had been directed to work out in detail the funding for ministries and divisions that could be termed discretionary and present it before the cabinet within a week.

In its presentation, the Finance Division informed the cabinet that it had examined the entire budget of ministries and divisions and it showed no trace of discretionary funds in government spending.

However, there was some element of discretionary funds, which were being used for the creation of different account heads like allowances for travel, conferences, seminars and workshops, gifts and entertainment, purchase of transport goods and repair and maintenance.

After the presentation on the discretionary funds for ministries and divisions, the cabinet decided to create the Institutional Reform Cell (IRC) under the Cabinet Division with the adviser on austerity and institutional reforms as its head. The office of IRC will be set up in the PM Office.

It was also decided that the Establishment Division will notify the cell and work out its human resources requirement in consultation with the adviser on austerity and institutional reforms. This will be sent to the Finance Division for creation of the posts.

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The cabinet decided that the IRC should undertake a comprehensive review to ensure efficiency in fund allocation.

It also decided that the Finance Division may process the case for abolition of the budgetary allocation for gifts and entertainment amounting to Rs516 million for financial year 2018-19. The Finance Division will take initiatives to scrap the budgetary allocation.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2018.

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