Circular debt: Cabinet asked to share audit report findings

Finance ministry official insists no requests were made for report.

Azam Khan May 27, 2014
Finance ministry official insists no requests were made for report. CREATIVE COMMONS


A parliamentary panel on Monday asked the government to share a technical and financial audit report of Rs500 billion released by the finance ministry for circular debt repayments.

PPP Senator Sughra Imam told a sub-committee on finance and revenue on Monday that cabinet members including Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali had assured the parliament that the reports would be provided. After three months, however, no findings have been shared, she said.

The committee, headed by Senator Muhammad Hamayun Khan Mandokhel, asked for internal and external audit reports for the amount. Imam said she raised this issue in the Senate in December 2013, but the chairman had referred the issue to the committee.

A finance ministry official said the ministry had not been asked to prepare an audit report. An internal audit report is available, he said; the committee has asked for this report. “We have to scrutinise whether reimbursement was made transparently,” said Imam.

The committee also decided to issue notices to the interior ministry and Board of Investment requesting a briefing on the procedure to issue security clearance certificates to foreign companies. Imam said that in the absence of comprehensive mechanisms for oil and gas assets, Indian and Israeli companies can interfere in the market. Privatisation division secretary Ahmad Sukhera added that the government wants to deregulate the economy in order to enhance investment opportunities.

Senator Imam proposed an amendment in the 2013 privatisation ordinance, making it necessary for officials to disclose interest and recommend harsher penalties for those, including advisers and consultants, who do not correctly declare their interest in the process of privatisation.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2014.


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