KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah has expressed 'dismay' at the low utilisation of development funds by the education and health departments in the last 10 months.
At a meeting held at CM House on Wednesday, Shah sought an explanation from the relevant officials for the slow pace of utilisation of the funds. "This is completely unacceptable," he said. "The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government gives top priority to development in the province and I will never allow negligence in this."
Shah reviewed the performance of various departments based on the utilisation of their allocated development funds for the financial year, 2014-2015.
The meeting was attended by the principal secretary to the CM, Alamuddin Bullo, additional chief secretary (development) Muhammad Waseem, development secretary Rehana Memon and chief economist Abdul Fatah Marri.
Briefing the chief minister, the additional chief secretary, Waseem, said that the total development portfolio for the current financial year, 2014-15, was Rs168 billion. "There were a total of 2,937 schemes, of which 1,658 are on-going schemes while 1,279 were new ones," he said.
Speaking about the Auqaf, Zakat and Religious Affairs department, he said it had only utilised 20 per cent of its development funds. "Rs266.4 million was allocated for their uplift schemes, of which Rs161.5 million were released. But the department only managed to use Rs32.7 million," he explained.
Meanwhile, the industries department had a budget of Rs125.5 million, of which Rs38.5 million was released. They only managed to utilise Rs17.8 million. The labour department had a budget of Rs103.7 million against which the finance department had released Rs9.39 million. They, however, managed to use a paltry Rs1.5 million.
Speaking about the livestock and fisheries department, the additional chief secretary said they were allocated Rs2,070.7 million against which Rs599.2 million had been released, while they have utilised only Rs111.7 million. On this, the chief minister asked Waseem if he had taken up the issue with the livestock department. The mines and minerals department, which was allocated Rs279.42 million and against which the finance department had released Rs85.7 million, managed to use only Rs3.45 million, which adds up to four per cent of the funds. This figure seemed to irk the chief minister, who directed the principal secretary, Alamuddin Bullo, to convene a special meeting of secretaries of all the departments that had failed to utilise their development funds.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2015.
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