PCCC seeking grant worth Rs666m

ECC expresses reservations over poor performance, considers bringing in representation from private sector

Zafar Bhutta February 05, 2023


The country’s economic managers have expressed serious reservations over the poor performance of the Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC) and are mulling over the option of making it a more viable body with representation from the private sector.

The performance of PCCC came under scrutiny during a meeting in which the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) was considering a supplementary amount of Rs666.64 million for the salaries and allowances/pension of PCCC employees.

The ECC discussed the case threadbare and observed that PCCC was established for cotton research to enhance cotton production in the country. Its performance, however, had not been satisfactory.

It was further stated that the forum needed to take a conscious decision so that the budget and pensions do not become a liability for the government.

The need to review the affairs of the PCCC in a holistic manner was also urged. During the discussions, suggestions were made to explore options to make the cotton committee a more viable body with representation from the private sector and to make it a self-financing entity.

It was suggested that a committee be constituted under the chairmanship of the special assistant to the prime minister (SAPM) on government effectiveness for the purpose. The ECC agreed to the proposal.

The Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) also briefed the committee about the case and explained that in order to meet the pay, allowances and pension expenditure for PCCC employees a draft summary for the grant of a Technical Supplementary Grant (TSG) was moved through the finance division.

In response thereto, the finance division raised some questions about how the said expenditure was met during the FY2021-22 without any additional grants. It also observed that each ministry/division was provided with a one-line budget and that the MNFSR had a provision of Rs9303.010 million during the FY2022-23. Therefore, the finance ministry suggested that re-appropriation of funds be explored.

The MNFSR explained that during FY2021-22, the ministry had met the expense by re-appropriating a surplus of Rs419.00 million available under the PM Package for Rabi Crop.

Regarding the finance ministry’s second observation, it was stated that during FY2022-23, MNFSR was allocated a total budget of Rs9,303.010 million including a wheat subsidy of Rs7 billion, which left only Rs2,303 million with the ministry. As a consequence, no cushion was available for re-appropriation.

The MNFSR requested the ECC approve Rs666.64 million as a supplementary grant for the PCCC to enable the organisation to pay salaries and pensions during the remaining period of FY2022-23.

In next year’s budgetary proposal, the MNFSR will send estimates for the inclusion of Employee Related Expenses (ERE) of the organisation in the federal budget, on the lines of Livestock Dairy Development Board (LDDB) and Fisheries Development Board (FDB), both public sector companies under MNFSR, having budgetary allocations in respect of their ERE.

The ECC considered the summary submitted by the food security ministry regarding the “Supplementary Grant of Rs666.64 million for Pay and Allowances/Pension of PCCC Employees” and constituted a committee, with the SAPM on government effectiveness as convener, to deliberate on the issues of PCCC in a holistic manner and submit viable recommendations thereon to the ECC for consideration, within fifteen days.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2023.

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