Ministries sending matters to cabinet ‘fearing NAB’

Delay in decision-making harming public interest


Irshad Ansari September 26, 2021
PHOTO: NAB

ISLAMABAD:

The ministries and divisions have started sending summaries to the federal cabinet for approval instead of deciding important matters on their own “fearing the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)” -- the delay denting public interest.

The revelation was made by the cabinet secretary at a recent meeting of the federal cabinet.

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin agreed with the cabinet secretary and pointed out that ministries and divisions should solve problems at their own level but bureaucrats were reluctant to make decisions fearing the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The national food security ministry refused to decide the approval of the 3rd international tender 2021-22 for the procurement of wheat and the matter in the form of a summary was forwarded to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet.

The summary was approved at a recent meeting of the federal cabinet. However, the cabinet secretary pointed out that the matter could have been decided by the ministry itself instead of sending it to the ECC.

He added that the ministries and secretaries had the authority to decide such financial matters on their own, but they seek the approval of a higher forum.

“This is an injustice to the federal cabinet and delay in decision making harms public interest”

The finance minister agreed with the cabinet secretary and said that it was true that the ministries and divisions concerned should resolve the issues at their own level.

“But the decision to award the wheat tender was not being made due to fear of NAB. Due to a disagreement, the ministry was allowed to take up the matter with the ECC.”

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The finance minister told the cabinet that the reluctance to award the tender for the procurement of wheat had already damaged the national exchequer and therefore further delay in this sensitive issue could not be tolerated.

The national food security additional secretary informed the cabinet that although the issue of wheat was the responsibility of his ministry, it made several requests to the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to import the commodity but it did not do so despite that.

The federal cabinet members expressed their anger over the delay in wheat import and demanded an explanation from the TCP chairman.

They also noted that ministries and secretaries concerned should take responsibility for overseeing important matters.

The federal cabinet also directed the PM’s adviser on trade and investment to investigate the issue of delay and identify the people responsible for it.

In response to the concerns expressed by cabinet on the increase in the prices of wheat and flour, the national food security ministry said there were reasonable reserves of wheat in the country but the

Punjab government’s delay in releasing the commodity had caused the price hike.

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