ISLAMABAD: In what appears to be a self-contradictory move, a list of over 35 projects has been submitted by the government in the Supreme Court (SC) to lift the ban on transferring funds, carries only one project of national importance while the remaining pertain to construction of office buildings, gardening and training.
In another desperate attempt to convince the SC to lift the ban on the transfer of funds, the federal government on Monday filed an application for an early hearing of its review petition on May 15 against the court’s December 5, 2013 judgement, which had banned the transfer of funds from an account approved by the parliament to another as a technical supplementary grant.
This ruling curtailed the government’s discretionary powers, which are often used in May and June.
Notwithstanding, the government has contended in a fresh application, that the ban was affecting progress on projects that it claims are related to national importance and could undermine national economic growth.
The list of projects submitted before the court, the government pleaded it needed an immediate allocation of Rs12.5 billion for these projects of 'national importance' before the close of the ongoing fiscal year.
However, of 38 projects, only one - the Karachi Coastal Power Project K2 and K3 which need an additional Rs2 billion - can be classified as a project of national importance.
Another project, that falls under public works, is the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Service. The government had not allocated any sum for this project and is now seeking Rs7.7 billion.
The 36 other projects which are vying for the remaining Rs2.6 billion relate to kitchen gardening, housing, garment cities, air-conditioning at the Supreme Court Branch Registry and Judges rest house in Bath Island Karachi, acquisition of land and construction of office-cum-residential accommodation for IB Staff in DI Khan, establishment of environment monitoring system in Pakistan, construction of non-residential building & other facilities for Force HQ Scouts & 113 Wing at Gilgit, construction of 132 KV grid station and feeding transmission Line at the New Benazir Bhutto International Airport Islamabad, Gabir Dam, construction of 100 dams in Balochistan (package-1) 20 dams, construction of 24 Nos Cat V Aoartnebt at DG TR (IR) Lahore, Water Distribution Network based on Khanpur Dam Water Source Phase II and others.
The government contended in its application that ministries and divisions have made an additional demand of Rs40 billion during the financial year 2013-2014 for their fast moving projects. They added adding that some part of this demand can be met to facilitate project completion and progression through re-appropriation against savings indicated by ministries and divisions during PSDP 2013-2014 review.
The government further argued that the allocations made in the annual budget for various heads projects are based purely on projections. “During the course of the financial year, some projects face implementation issues which hamper progress and allocated funds cannot be utilised thereof. As per financial rules, ministries, divisions and executing agencies recommend diversion of funds from show moving projects to fast track projects ad in certain cases, implementing agencies requests for additional funds through re-appropriation within their allocated budget for a year mainly to complete fast track projects”
The government stated that calamitous events which wreaked havoc in Tharparkar, require the urgent utilisation of funds to supplement the relief package of Rs1 billion as was announced by the prime minister, adding that adequate arrangements have to be made expeditiously in the form of appropriations and supplementary grants in order to make the requisite funds available for providing the said relief package and for the continuance of existing relief efforts which are currently underway.
The government pleaded that issues involved in its review petition are emergent and of great importance, therefore, the case should be fixed on May 15.
Meanwhile, Attorney General for Pakistan Salman Aslam Butt has also filed a separate application, requesting the court to allow him to argue the case on behalf of the federal government through the secretary of finance ministry.
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