Karachi - The figures obtained by this scribe have belied the tall claims made by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah about increasing expenditures on the development of infrastructure in the province, especially in Karachi.

The detail of expenditures on this front shows a miserable picture, with only 22 percent amount, out of the total allocation, has been spent on the development schemes despite the passage of half fiscal year. According to details, Rs43,705 million were spent on 2773 schemes in the province

till 23 December 2016, out of the allocated amount of Rs200,000 million despite the lapse of half fiscal year.

The much hyped Karachi mega projects, the provincial government often brags about, and says are its prime focus, still await release of capital from the provincial government.

The provincial government had allocated an amount of Rs10,000 million for the mega projects in the metropolis, but is yet to spend a single rupee on these despite the fact that six months have already passed.

The major projects for which funds have been released, but are yet to be spent, include Rs780 million worth construction of University Road from NED University to Safoora Chowk, Rs 550 million worth reconstruction of Tariq Road from Shaheed-e-Millat Road to Shahrah-e-Qaideen, Rs200 million worth re-construction/ Rehabilitation of Mosamiyat Road and others.

The much talked-about upgradation of fire services in high rise buildings to be completed at the cost of Rs499 million is yet to receive funds despite tall claims by the provincial authorities to focus on improving fire extinguishing facilities after simultaneous incidents of fire claiming lives of people in tall structures. 

Furthermore, the provincial government had announced to prioritise the education in this fiscal year, but the amount spent so far on it shows a dismal picture, as it stands only at 11.9 percent. 

The provincial government had allocated Rs 12,394.218 million for ongoing 172 schemes and has spent only an amount of Rs2043.771 million while only Rs4.495 million were spent from Rs 4838.782 million on 225 new projects.

Although the provincial government had announced health emergency in the province, but failed to show any impressive performance on this front either.

It spent only 11.8 percent of its development expenditures on the health department. It had allocated an amount of Rs14,000 million for 146 development schemes in the health sector, but only spent an amount of Rs1652.166 million was spent on the ongoing 89 schemes, exposing its claims of focusing on the neglected sector.

Law and order situation which is the key priority for not only the provincial government but also the federal government and other concerned authorities in the province also failed to get proper attention from the provincial government, which has spent only 21.9 percent of the total budget earmarked for the purpose in the fiscal year, 2016-17.      

Similarly, the government had set aside Rs2000 million for the home department, out of which it spent only Rs437.476 million in six months.

Industries and commerce, which are the backbone of country’s economy, especially the provincial capital Karachi, which is the main contributor to the country’s business activities, is yet to get attention of the provincial authorities as it has only spent a minimal amount of 7.4 percent (Rs 208.334 million) of the total budget allocation of Rs 2829 million on 22 development projects.   

The Greater Karachi Water Supply Scheme (K-IV) that has become a vital project for the city water supply after the metropolis witnessed a severe water shortage during heat wave in summer 2015. However, despite so much importance, the project only got spending of 25 percent despite passage of half fiscal year.

Meanwhile, on one hand where the schemes for public have been neglected, the provincial authorities have spent enormously on their own, with the Chief Minister secretariat spending 90 percent of amount on the ongoing schemes and the provincial assembly spending 59 percent of the total allocation for the fiscal year.  

According to release report, the provincial assembly was allocated an amount of Rs1065 million, out of which Rs876.636 million were released and an amount of Rs628.521 million were spent, which is equivalent to 59 percent expenditure of the total allocation and 71.7 percent of the released amount.

Similarly, over 90 percent of the amount allocated for ongoing schemes in the Chief Minister’s House was spent.

It is pertinent to mention here that an amount of Rs41.945 was allocated for the ongoing projects in the Chief Minister’s House of which the entire amount was released and 93 percent of it that is Rs 39.012 million was spent.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a PPP official in the CM House informed that the provincial government had released funds for the projects on the directives of the chief minister, but bureaucratic hurdles and pressure from the accountability institutions, especially from the National Accountability Bureau had prevented utilization of funds for the projects.

“The provincial bureaucracy is being harassed by the accountability institutions, which have forced it to avoid approving funds for the projects or taking unnecessary precautionary measures in funds approval and this is causing delay in the projects,” he disclosed.

He was however, of the opinion that the provincial government was committed to spending on development schemes and would have spent a major chunk of the development budget by the end of this fiscal year.