PA budget debate: ‘Allocating money is one thing, spending accordingly another’

Ally joins opposition in criticism of govt over failure to spend budgeted amounts.

Our Correspondent June 14, 2012


The opposition was joined by a government ally in the Punjab Assembly session on Thursday to criticise the government for its failure to spend development funds as promised in the budget.

The session ended early after quorum was pointed out.

“Allocating money in the budget is one thing and spending it accordingly another,” Makhdoom Ahmed Mahmood, elected on a Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) ticket from Rahim Yar Khan, said.

“Each budget comes with large allocations for southern Punjab but actual spending is less than 10 per cent of the allocations,” he said.

The Annual Development Plan (ADP) is revised each, he said. Makhdoom Irtaza Altaf, a Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) MPA from Mianwali Qureshian, said that a large chunk of development funds was not spent.

He said that ADP of Rs220 billion for the current year had been allocated. “Eventually only Rs105 billion was spent,” he claimed.

“The government allocated Rs9 billion for the energy sector last year but only Rs2 billion was spent,” he said.

Speaking about spending on the education, Altaf said, “The overall allocation for education increased last year but development expenditure in the sector deceased.”

Responding to the criticism, Asghar Ali Munda, a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MPA from Sheikhupura, said Punjab was the fastest developing province in Pakistan as a result of government policy.

He said the Aashiyana Housing Scheme, the Laptop Scheme, the Yellow Cab Scheme and Daanish Schools were quite popular, he said.

Humaira Owais Shahid, a PML-Q MPA said, “The province’s revenue collection is decreasing which is a worrying sign.”

She alleged that health and education were the lowest among the government’s priorities.

An opposition member pointed at the lack of quorum at this point. Bells were rung for half an hour, but the number of members remained below quorum after which proceedings were adjourned till Friday (today).

Published In The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2012.


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