Dams fund has Rs 17.86b, Senate told

Interim finance minister says no withdrawal made from this sum

Our Correspondent November 25, 2023
Caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar. PHOTO: FILE


Caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar on Friday disclosed that there was a sum of Rs17.86 billion in the Supreme Court and Prime Minister’s Dams Fund.

In her written response submitted to the Senate, Dr Akhtar informed the House that an amount of Rs11.46 billion was directly contributed to the fund, while an additional sum of Rs6.29 billion was gathered as profit on government investments.

The interim minister made it clear that no withdrawal had been made from the dams fund and any such move would require the judiciary’s permission.

She said this “transparency and accountability” in managing the fund’s resources were necessary for ensuring the effective use of the money it had for the construction of the dams.

Read More: Dams fund has over Rs16 billion, SC informed

Former Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar had established a Supreme Court of Pakistan Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams Fund on July 10, 2018, to raise money for the construction of both the dams.

The State Bank’s website stated that the SC supervised the fund and its registrar directly operated its account.

Later, the then premier Imran Khan had also thrown weight behind Justice (retd) Nisar’s call for donations and had urged overseas Pakistanis to contribute to the effort to raise funds via voluntary donations.

Read More: Resolution calls for depositing Diamer-Bhasha dam funds into kitty

In January this year, the SC directed the auditor general of Pakistan to review the records of the fund.

It observed that the money in the fund would not be spent on repairing the damage caused by the floods back then.

State Bank officials informed the court that the fund currently had more than a sum of Rs16 billion but so far neither had any withdrawal been made from it, nor any expenditure incurred from that money.

During the question hour session in the upper house of parliament on Friday, Senator Danesh Kumar of the BAP said he had learnt that the salary of the State Bank governor was Rs4 million.

The interim finance minister replied that the State Bank was a corporate body whose board of governors dealt with it affairs.

An incensed PPP Senator Palwasha Khan pointed out that the State Bank governor, whose job was only to “beg” from the International Monetary Fund.(IMF), was Rs4 million while a member of the upper house of parliament received only Rs140,000.

The interim finance minister told the House that the State Bank had introduced a policy asking its employees that if they agreed to relinquish their pensions, their salaries would be raised.

(With input from our News Desk in Karachi)


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