Out of Rs169 billion released under the Annual Development Programme (ADP) of 2013-14, the government could spend only Rs100 billion on development schemes by the end of April, The Express Tribune has learnt.
The government is likely to transfer Rs15 billion of the unutilised amount to the Lahore Development Authority’s (LDA) Special Drawing Account for reauthorisation of the fund, a Planning and Development (P&D) Board official said.
On condition of anonymity, the official said the LDA might use the money on development schemes in its jurisdiction.
The Punjab government had presented the largest ever ADP of Rs290 billion for the financial year 2013-14. The ADP for the year ending on June 30, 2013 was Rs250 billion.
The 2013-14 ADP aimed to execute 1,578 development schemes.
Of Rs290 billion, Rs259.46 billion were to be generated from indigenous resources (share from divisible pool plus provincial collections) whereas Rs30.53 billion were to be received in foreign aid, according to the budget document.
It said that Rs165.54 billion were to be spent on new development schemes and Rs124.45 billion on the ongoing schemes.
Of the total fund, the size of ADP’s net development programme was Rs240 billion and Rs50 billion were earmarked for special initiatives.
The official said the Finance Department had released Rs169 billion until the end of April, at the request of the P&D Board.
He said the government could utilise only Rs100 billion, 35 per cent of the total ADP, until the end of April. He said the government would be able to spend only Rs140 billion by the end of financial year if it carried on at the current pace.
He said the government now planned to divert Rs15 billion to the LDA’s Special Drawing Account (SDA), operated by the director general of the authority.
“This will be done to enhance ADP utilisation and avoid the lapse of funds... as the money will be revalidated for the next year.”
In government accounts, he said, a pre-audit procedure was followed to settle bills/financial transactions of the contractors/executing agencies of development projects. Whereas in the SDA, the signing authority would pay all the stakeholders directly through cheques without the pre-audit, he said.
The P&D Board official claimed that the frequent re-shuffle in the civil bureaucracy also played a part in the lower utilisation of the ADP.
Javed Latif, a senior P&D Board official, refused to comment on the status of ADP utilisation.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2014.
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