The government has spent more than Rs100 billion on several “useless” projects, including Yellow Cab Scheme, Ashiana Housing, Sasti Roti Programme, Laptop Distribution Scheme and Daanish Schools, a White Paper issued by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Tuesday says.
“The standards of living would have improved had these funds been spent on brining about improvements in agriculture, industrial and energy sectors,” PTI leader Mian Mahmoodur Rashid said while launching the document.
Rashid said the government had not learnt anything from its past mistakes and it continued to invest money in failed projects. “Billions of rupees have been wasted and the government is still focusing on the projects of less importance,” he said.
He said the government had applied for a loan of $350 million from the Asian Development Bank and $35 million from the International Fund for Agricultural Development although it already owed Rs452 billion.
He said Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had not fulfilled his promise of avoiding foreign loans. He said the borrowing had exposed the government’s poor financial management. He said the provincial government had been following in the footsteps of an irresponsible federal government.
The PTI leader said the bad governance had pushed back the province by 10 years.
He said massive borrowings would result in a financial crisis as the government would have to pay back huge mark-up on the loans. He said the government presented a deficit budget every year that showed the province’s financial layout was going from bad to worse.
Rashid said that since 2008, the Punjab had been getting an additional Rs100 billion apart from what it was getting from the National Finance Commission. “The additional Rs100 billion has not helped the province… instead the financial condition is getting worse,” he said.
“If the government can generate Rs100 billon for Metro Bus in three cities why can it not generate funds to improve the living standards of the people across the province?”
The PTI leader said corruption and tax evasion were going on unabated. He said the Sahiwal coal-fired power project and Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park could also fail like Nandipur power project.
He demanded that the provincial assembly hold a debate on financial mismanagement of the government. He said bad governance had forced it to import potatoes and other vegetables. He said the government had failed to introduce reforms to improve the standards of living.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2014.